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© 1962, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number 62-16504 Printed in the United States of America 















Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Alpers, Los Angeles 

Mrs. Thomas W. Blake, Jr., Dallas 

Mr. and Mrs. Donald M. Blinken, New York 

Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Brodsky, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Brown, Springfield, Massachusetts 

Lee V. Eastman, Scarsdale, New York 

Eric Estorick, London 

Morton Feldman, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Carlo M. Grossman, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. I. Donald Grossman, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Morris H. Grossman, Neiv York 

Joseph H. Hazen, New York 

David Herbert, New York 

Miss June Herman, New York 

Joseph H. Hirshhorn, Neiv York 

Mrs. Meyer Kestnbaum, Chicago 

F. H. Kissner, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Kunitz, New York 

Mrs. Phyllis B. Lambert, New York 

Sophie and Boris Leavitt, Hanover, Pennsylvania 

Fletcher Martin, Woodstock, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Matter, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Leon A. Mnuchin, Neiv York 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Monica, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Neisner, Rochester, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Morton Neumann, Chicago 

Mrs. Albert H. Newman, Chicago 

Mrs. William A. Pedlar, New York 

Mrs. George Poindexter, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Reis, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. James Roemer, Warren, Ohio 

Mr. and Mrs. Olin J. Stephens II, Scarsdale, Neiv York 

Mr. and Mrs. David A. Teiger, West Orange, New Jersey 

Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Weisman, Los Angeles 

Mr. and Mrs. J. Daniel Weitzman, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Adja Yunkers, New York 

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo 

The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore 

City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis 

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 

The Michener Foundation, Allentoun Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis 

Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York 

The Museum, of Modern Art, Neiv York 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 

Department of Art, State College of Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 

The Trustees of the Tate Gallery, London 

Washington University, St. Louis 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles 
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 


The President and the Board of Trustees of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 
express their gratitude to all those ivho have so generously lent ivorks of art to the 
present exhibition. Our appreciation is extended to the Dwan Gallery, Mr. Lee V. 
Eastman, the Sidney Janis Gallery, Mrs. Phyllis B. Lambert, Mr. James A. Michener, 
Mr. Frederick Weisman, and Mr. J. Daniel Weitzman for special assistance. Thanks 
are also otving to Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Grove Press, "Life" magazine, The Museum 
of Modern Art, Skira, Inc., and the Whitney Museum of American Art for the loan 
of color plates. Particular than,ks are due to Sidney Janis for extensive assistance 
in documentation. 

89. The Tale. 1961. Lent by the artist. 



For the twenty-five years of his professional career, the paintings of Philip Guston have 
been a dialogue between subject and abstract structure. At times, this dialogue has been 
resolved in a lyrical harmony in which the protagonists achieve an agreement so com- 
plete that there seems no basis of conflict. At other times, the dialogue becomes a battle 
of forces seemingly intent on the destruction of all definitions of representation and ab- 
straction. Guston is widely recognized as an artist who achieved success as a figurative 
painter in the Forties- who then abandoned this position in 1947 to become an abstrac- 
tionist, and is now one of the leading abstract expressionists of our time. 1 However, the 
pattern of his development is by no means as simple as this statement w r ould imply. 
Both before and after he abandoned recognizable subject matter, he studied intensively 
questions of abstract organization, of color and its relationships with pictorial or illu- 
sionistic space. This study led him in the early Fifties to Mondrian; and the sense of the 
total image as well as the severe vertical-horizontal axis of a number of paintings of that 
time reflect his comparable search for the definition of the picture plane. But. despite the 
control of the picture rectangle, nothing could be more different from Mondrian than 
the means Guston used or the effect he achieved. 

For footnotes see pages 38-39. 

The paintings of 1952 and 1953 in their generally rectangular balance, their 
investigation of spatial relationships, may perhaps be more appropriately termed 'ab- 
stract' than any other paintings of Guston's career. Yet, even in these the shimmering, 
illusionistic color applied in small, vibrating brush strokes denies the abstract, geometric 
structure to create associations of moving light, even at times of landscape. 

With works like Zone, 1953, and Beggar's Joys, 1954, both the sense of geometric 
structure and any suggestion of impressionist landscape have disappeared. Larger, 
asymmetrically balanced color shapes, an order that is organic rather than geometric, 
color that is expressive rather than impressionist, create new associations, new subjects 
which are analogies rather than reflections of objective nature. 

Philip Guston was born in 1913 in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in Los An- 
geles, California, where he began drawing and painting while in high school. He is 
self-trained except for a few months at the Otis Art Institute. Although he was aware at 
an early age of the paintings of the post impressionists and the cubists, he saw these only 
through reproductions, except for the works which he viewed briefly in the Arensberg 
Collection. His first strong interest was actually for certain Renaissance masters such as 
Uccello, Mantegna and Piero della Francesca, and his first major problem as a painter 
was the analysis of their perspectival, architectural space in its relations to the con- 
tracted, re-assembled space of the cubists. While the surrealists did not particularly in- 
terest him, he was fascinated (and still is) by the early paintings of de Chirico, both 
in terms of their combinations of Renaissance and cubist spatial organization, and in 
terms of the haunting mystery of the subject. Aside from de Chirico, the classical 
Picassos of the Arensberg Collection impressed him the most. The painter, Lorser Feitel- 
son, with whom a number of Guston's friends were then studying, was influential in 
acquainting him with the Renaissance artists. 

The interest in the Renaissance fresco painters, as well as the then current vogue 
of the Mexican muralists, drew him to Mexico in 1934. In 1934 and 1935, he worked on 
the Public Works Administration in Los Angeles, collaborating on two murals with 
Reuben Kadish. In 1936, Guston moved to New York and joined the Federal Arts Proj- 
ect of the Works Progress Administration there. His first commission was a mural for 
Kings County Hospital. He worked on the cartoons for a year and a half, only to have 
them rejected. In New York for the first time he saw quantities of modern painting at the 
Museum of Modern Art and at dealers' galleries. He also became acquainted on the 
Project with artists such as Burgoyne Diller and James Brooks, who were painting ab- 
stractly or semi-abstractly. The contacts with cubist and abstract art and artists did not 
at this time result in any conscious desire to become an abstractionist. It did, however, 
intensify his already active interest in bringing the objects in his paintings up to the 
picture plane, in creating through overlapping shapes a tension between surface and 
depth, a rhythm which would permeate and unify the entire picture. 


Detail from Queensbridge Housing Project. 1940. 

A second mural, for a Queensbridge Housing Project on Long Island, was actu- 
ally completed between 1940 and 1941 and represents a substantial advance over the 
first mural project in a simplified architectural organization which reflects both his 
study of cubism and perhaps even more his continued fascination with Uccello's Battle 
of San Romano in the Louvre, of which he now owned large color reproductions. 2 

His study of the cubists continued, both through visits to galleries and through 
reproductions of cubist Braques and Picassos in a large volume of Cahiers a" Art which 
he bought and kept in his studio for constant reference. The great Picasso Exhibition at 
the Museum of Modern Art (1940) was an outstanding event for him as it was for so 
many American painters at this period. The Gallatin Collection was then on exhibition 
at New York University and the full implications of cubism were finally revealed to him 
in terms of Picasso's Three Musicians and Leger's The City. 


In 1941. Guston went off the Project. He was exhausted with mural painting and 
all the conditions and Commissions that were involved.' 5 Up to this time he had produced 
very few easel paintings. Since his arrival in New York, he had drawn continually, both 
sketches for mural projects, and drawings from the models which the Project provided. 
He now felt an intense desire to summarize his reflections on subject, his spatial and 
technical experiments in easel paintings created for himself rather than for an Art 

The painting which Guston considers his first major commitment to oil painting, 
his first mature statement as an independent artist is Martial Memory, 1941 (no. I). 4 
This had its genesis in a passage from the Queensbridge Housing Project mural (p. 13) 
in which he depicted children fighting a mock war with saucepans for helmets and gar- 
bage tin covers for shields. This passage was the result of his having observed such a 
battle and having been intrigued by the elements of make believe. He made of it a sim- 
plified, sculptural, somewhat cubist adaptation of passages from Uccello's Battle of San 
Romano. The subject and its formal possibilities continued to interest him. He returned 
to it in a small easel painting of 1940 and again in the Martial Memory of 1941. The 
1940 easel painting is a free variant of the mural passage, emphasizing the tightly or- 
ganized figure composition within a constricted, frontalized space. The faces in both the 
mural and this painting are completely masked, and the modelled figures, rotating in 
limited depth, suggest relief sculpture. 

In Martial Memory, both the structure and the content of the painting change 
radically. This is a tonal, shadowed painting; the paint is laid on flatly and rather dryly, 
suggestive of fresco rather than oil. Walls and blank windowed, square buildings seal in 
the background and confine the action to a shallow foreground. The figures and archi- 
tecture emerge as flat, overlapping shapes, creating an effect of cubist structure. The 
sense of abstract organization is achieved with little distortion of the figures. These are 
still perfectly recognizable children, existing as solid objects within surrounding atmos- 
phere. In fact, the subject element is even stronger in this work than in the two preced- 
ing versions. In those, the masked faces and the stylized arrangement in movement tend 
to dehumanize the children and concentrate attention on the formal elements. In Martial 
Memory, the children's faces appear clearly or are half suggested, faces as impassive 
and withdrawn as those in a Piero della Francesca painting. The added element is that 
of mood. As H. W. Janson has pointed out, "In Martial Memory . . . the boys are display- 
ing their grotesque arsenal with strange, slow solemnity as if their play had suddenly 
turned into a ritual." 5 The mood of strangeness or mystery is reinforced by the blank, 
empty windows of the buildings, reminiscent of the architecture of early de Chirico. In 
this painting the duality of Guston's work becomes clearly apparent. At the very mo- 
ment when he was turning towards a more abstract organization he introduced into his 


paintings a strong sense of subject rooted in observation of natural objects and reflection 
on the mystery of a children's world. This dialogue between representational subject and 
abstract structure was to continue intermittently for the next seven years, most specifi- 
cally in the series of paintings on the theme of childhood. 

In the fall of 1941, Guston went to the University of Iowa as Visiting Artist. He 
entered into teaching with enthusiasm, purchasing for the classroom studios large color 
prints of cubist paintings and examples of Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Giorgione, 
and other Renaissance artists. He taught principles of cubist painting and in the process 
of teaching for a time lost interest in them himself. In his own work he concentrated on 
drawing from the model and painted a number of single figures, in which he concerned 
himself particularly with the exploration of the possibilities of oil paint. 

Sanctuary, 1944, (no. 2) was painted in Iowa City, and shows details of an 
Iowa City street in the background. The color, in deep reds and greens, has here become 
much richer; the figure is modelled in color and light and shadow in a manner sugges- 
tive of the Venetian Renaissance. The reclining boy stares out at the spectator with an 
expression of haunting melancholy which carries the withdrawn expression of the fig- 
ures in Martial Memory to the point of romantic nostalgia. This and other single figures 
of this time, accomplished as they are in traditional terms, seem to be almost a retro- 
gression, a denial of the contemporary world which he had been exploring. However, 
they were necessary technical experiments to complete his control of the oil medium, 
and they were necessary personal experiments in his search for a subject matter. 

These lyrical, sensuously painted figures were immediately popular, and en- 
hanced the growing reputation of the artist, although not in terms which necessarily 
pleased him. In 1945, he won first prize at the Carnegie International for a comparable 
single figure, entitled Sentimental Moment, 1944. As a result he was given a three page 
color spread in Life magazine (May 27, 1946), in which, however, he protested that he 
did not like the literal approach of his prize winning painting. 

In 1944, thoroughly in control of the oil medium, he returned to the theme of 
the children in a large and complex work, entitled // This Be Not I, 1944-45, (no. 3). 
This he worked and reworked for more than a year, attempting to put into it all his 
recent reflections on subject, all his experiments in Renaissance and cubist organization. 
It is a night scene, predominantly blue in color, richly and heavily painted. A crowd of 
children, some masked, some with faces partially concealed or covered, fill the columned 
porch of an old. dilapidated Midwestern house. The subject is again all the strangeness 
and mystery of childhood, of a world that no adult can enter. In comparison with Martial 
Memory this is much more painterly, with extensive use of light and shadow creating an 
ambiguity in the placing of forms which both complicates and helps to unify the total 


In 1945, after he had completed // This Be Not I, Guston left Iowa to teach at 
Washington University in St. Louis. Here he painted, between 1945 and 1947, a further 
series of paintings of children, in which the emphasis as well as the style changed radi- 
cally, (e.g. Night Children, 1945; Somersault I, 1945;'' Somersault II, 1946; Porch I, 
1946; Porch II, 1947, no. 6). Night Children, 7 like // This Be Not I, is a dark picture, 
but the figures are flatly and more abstractly painted. The architectural background 
is now completely flattened out and brought up to the frontal plane. Strong background 
reds push forward between the more soberly painted foreground figures to create a total 
picture space visually ambiguous but structurally unified. Here the children cease to be 
individuals occupying a mysterious children's world and become essentially color shapes 
moving in and out and across a delimited, frontalized space. At the opposite extreme 
from // This Be Not I, Guston has now subordinated subject to concentrate on the for- 
mal aspects of the painting. In a sense this picture, in its balance of organizational and 
of representational elements, stems from Martial Memory of 1941 rather than from// This 
Be Not I. Although he has moved further towards abstraction, the involvement with 
subject matter taken from nature still persists and continues to persist in the Somersault 
and Porch pictures. 

Somersault I and Somersault II are perhaps the most cubist of the entire series. 
Figures and all other objects are packed into an almost flat frontal area. Distinctions 
between foreground and background cease to exist. Distorted, inverted figures are rem- 
iniscent of and probably influenced by surrealist Picassos of the late Twenties and early 
Thirties. In comparison, Porch I and Porch II are more open, relatively more natural- 
istic; although in these a strong, cruciform architectural structure emphasizes the geom- 
etry of the picture plane in a greater degree than in any painting to this date. The color 
in these two works is lighter and applied more flatly, and this fact, together with the 
architectural elements, reiterates Guston's continuing passion for Piero della Francesca. 

A final, small figure composition dated 1947 is the last such painting Guston did 
before eliminating representation from his paintings. This is a sketch, Untitled, but 
related in theme to the Somersault and the Porch series. In color, however, it is dark, 
almost monochromatic. The figures and background elements are now so integrated as 
to disappear as separate entities and to merge as an almost abstract image on the picture 

By 1947, Guston. although his production was not large, and although, as was 
the case with most artists during the depression and war years, he had not actually sold 
many paintings, was nevertheless securely established as one of the leading figure paint- 


ers in the United States. It is a common error to refer to his work during this period as 
social realism. In fact, he painted few paintings involving social, political or economic 
problems. In 1932, when he was still essentially a student, he did a highly stylized paint- 
ing of Ku Klux Klan figures entitled Conspiracy. During the Spanish Civil War he 
painted a tondo, Bombardment, 1937; and some illustrations commissioned by Fortune 
Magazine (August, 1943, October, 1943) involved war subjects. His W. P. A. murals 
were rather abstracted observations of American scenes than indictments of aspects of 
American life. The children pictures which constituted his most significant works of the 
Forties were statements of a very personal vision, explorations of a very personal world, 
rather than commentaries on events of the times. Their importance lies in their reflection 
of the artist's struggle with the problems of subject and the problems of the picture space. 

Porch II was started in St. Louis and finished in Woodstock, New York, to which 
Guston had then moved. He had received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and, 
taking a year's leave of absence from Washington University, he was able to devote his 
time entirely to painting. He was then conscious that he had reached an impasse in his 
work. After finishing Porch II, he felt that he had exhausted the possibilities of the sub- 
jects he had explored for the past ten years but he did not yet consciously wish to give 
up representation. As a result, although he painted continuously, everything he painted 
dissatisfied him, seemed contrived or empty, and was destroyed. He tried experiments 
with figures and with color shapes taking the place of figures; he drew incessantly both 
in a figurative and non-figurative manner; but nothing seemed convincing. 

In the summer of 1947, Guston met Bradley Walker Tomlin, who was then also 
attempting to find a new direction different from the highly accomplished cubist still 
lifes which he had been painting for years. They became friends and, although neither 
seems to have had much stylistic influence on the other, they liked each other's work. 
Each served as a source of support and encouragement to the other during this difficult 

In the spring of 1948, Guston finished his first painting which might be called 
abstract, although even here there are suggestions of figures, and the painting is rooted 
in a definite subject idea. This was Tormenters, (no. 8). It is a black painting, with reds 
flashing through the blacks, overlaid with a highly structural linear pattern that outlines 
and suggests masked and hooded figures carrying upright sticks or clubs. The subject is 
related to Conspiracy, 1932, although here the Tormentors are envisioned as flogging 
themselves. The masks and hoods, of course, had appeared in a different context in a 
number of the children pictures; and structurally this work is very close to Porch I and 

Porch II, completed the previous year. In fact, Tormentors began as another figure com- 
position (Drawing No. 1), but successive scrapings ultimately eliminated most of the 
representational elements. The clearly defined color shapes and linear patterns give it 
much of the architectural feeling of the Porch paintings, but now illusionistic space is 
almost completely eliminated. Everything is brought towards the front plane. Depth is 
suggested only by color and overlapping of flat shapes. 

In this work Guston at last felt that he was beginning to find a direction in which 
subject, mood, and abstract space organization had achieved the degree of integration 
which he had been seeking. The mood is dark and ominous. By using a red under the 
black and allowing this to push through in the large, regular, vertical and horizontal 
shapes, he arrived at a unity of foreground and background which held all elements in a 
single suspension. However, although he immediately started several other works in the 
same vein, none of these satisfied him. He destroyed them all, with the exception of one, 
later named Review (no. 9), which seemed to be developing in a promising manner. 

In the fall of 1948, Guston received a Prix de Rome and a grant from the 
American Academy of Arts and Letters, on the basis of the figure painting which he had 
already abandoned. He took with him to Rome the partially painted canvas of Review, 
intending to complete it there. For a month he attempted to paint, then gave it up en- 
tirely, deciding that it was more important to spend his time seeing the art and architec- 
ture of Europe. During the rest of his stay, until October, 1949, he traveled extensively, 
principally in Italy but with visits to France and Spain. He painted not at all, but did 
make a number of architectural drawings of city scenes, in which the figure disappeared 
entirely and the abstract quality of the architecture itself helped to further his researches 
in space organization. (Drawing No. 2). 

In October of 1949, Guston returned to Woodstock and finally that winter he 
finished Review. This was thus the only painting he had completed in almost a year and 
a half. In it he eliminated figures altogether, although he still made reference to objec- 
tive nature— a New York cityscape of red brick buildings with a black sky looming over- 
head. This was a natural development from the European architectural drawings and 
from an increasing awareness of the New York scene. During the winter of 1949-1950, 
while still a resident of Woodstock, he visited New York City more frequently. 

Until 1949, Guston, having lived away from New York since 1941, had not had 
very much contact with the painters associated with the abstract expressionist direction. 
He had known Pollock since they were boys in California. He had met de Kooning on 
the Project and met him again in 1948. At the same time, he met Motherwell, Rothko, 
Newman and some of the other experimental painters who had emerged or had turned 
to abstraction during the war. James Brooks and Guston met frequently at this time, and 
for a period during the early Fifties, after he had moved to New York, Guston took an 
active part in the meetings of the Eighth Street Club. 


Drawing No. 1 (Tormentors). 1947. Lent by the artist. 




Drawing No. 2 (Ischia). 1949. Lent by the artist. 


In March, 1950, Guston went to Minneapolis for a term as Visiting Artist at the 
University of Minnesota. While there he was given a one-man exhibition at the Univer- 
sity Gallery, but showed only his figurative paintings of the Forties and some of the 
Italian architectural drawings. He had brought with him a small abstract gouache I no. 
10) painted after Review, but did not include it, Tormentors or Revieiv in the exhibition. 
Although he was now fully committed to his move away from representational figure 
painting, he was still too unsure about what he was doing, still too involved in a period 
of change and uncertainty to be willing to expose these works to the public. 

On his return east in the summer of 1950, Guston took a studio in New \ork 
City, and he obtained a position teaching drawing at New York University. In Novem- 
ber and December. 1950, he w T as able to complete his third painting in almost three 
years. Since, despite the fact that he is not prolific, he works incessantly, nothing can 
indicate more strongly the struggle in which he was involved during these years. Al- 
though the three paintings, Tormentors, 1948: Review, 1949: and Red Painting, 1950. 
(no. 11) are the only oils to remain from this period, these three are immensely impor- 
tant in telling the story of his struggle and its resolution. In Tormentors, illusionistic 
depth is eliminated and the figures subordinated to shadow outlines. In Revieiv, the fig- 
ures are eliminated and of naturalistic subject only the suggestion of an architectural 
cityscape remains. In Red Painting, the suggestion of landscape is eliminated together 
with the pattern of rectangular color shapes. There remains an over-all dark and sombre 
red, covering the entire surface of the canvas, yet greatly varied in texture, changing 
continually, opening and closing over a suggested but ambiguous depth. This painting. 
in a preliminary and different form, was selected by Andrew Ritchie for his 1951 exhibi- 
tion at the Museum of Modern Art, Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America. After 
its selection. Guston repainted it entirely to its present form. When he. in some embar- 
rassment, explained this fact to Ritchie, the latter told him nevertheless to send it along. 
It arrived too late to be illustrated in the catalogue, but in the exhibition it caused con- 
siderable controversy among artists and critics. The principal point of irritation was the 
almost complete destruction of visible forms or defined color shapes. Even the leading 
abstract expressionists, who were given their first notable recognition in this exhibition, 
were almost without exception composing in linear movements or defined color shapes. 
Guston's painting was denounced as "the end. the abyss, the point of no return." Many 
years before, the same denunciation had been made of the works of Mondrian. What 
was true then was also true in the case of Guston. This painting was not an end but a 

The gradual elimination of objective nature in these three works did not by any 
means result in the elimination of subject or expressive content. All three, as has been 
suggested, are works of dark and sombre mood. They are shot through with a sense of 


melancholy, with the uncertainties and difficulties which produced them. The color is 
powerful but in a rough and muddy way; the surfaces have an almost uncouth, leathery 
brutality of texture, still bleeding from the countless scrapings away of the paint which 
lies below them. Although in the traditional definition Guston had now become an ab- 
stractionist, he had not ceased to be a subject painter. Only now, the painting itself had 
become the subject. 

Red Painting seemed to have broken the impasse, and the summer of 1951 pro- 
duced several paintings, lighter in key, looser in construction, and involving a new step 
in the artist's development. A small white painting (Painting No. 6, 1951) followed Red 
Painting, with similar forms but more open, freer brush strokes. This was still a period 
of difficulty, in which Guston's principal problem was how he should finally liberate 
himself from his habit of deliberate construction, how he should achieve a directness of 
approach that would transcend any conscious intellectual formula. All his life he had 
practiced a mode of painting in which the basic idea was laid in rapidly, to be followed 
by months of rearrangement, elimination, adjustment, until gradually a result that was 
satisfactory was achieved. 

When he gave up figure painting, he also tried to abandon this method of delib- 
erate construction, for a long time with no success but with continual frustration. As he 
had walked through the museums of Europe he had so lost confidence in himself that he 
at times began to doubt whether he were a painter at all. All he knew was that he loved 
to draw and to put paint on canvas; so on his return to the United States he had deter- 
mined that this was what he would do, without having any idea what the result would 
be. However, the habit of careful construction, of scraping down, eliminating, changing, 
adjusting, persisted through Red Painting, and, even though they began to move more 
rapidly, through the first works of 1951. 

The problem was whether he could actually paint a picture directly, without 
conscious construction, and still have a result that could be called a painting. This is a 
problem that many artists have faced and with which many of the abstract expression- 
ists were then struggling. Guston has described the denouement of this struggle as far 
as he was concerned: 

"The desire for this direct expression finally became so strong that even the 
interval necessary to reach back to the palette beside me became too long; so one day I 
put up a large canvas and placed the palette in front of me. Then I forced myself to 
paint the entire work without once stepping back to look at it. I remember that I painted 
this (White Painting I, 1951, no. 14) in an hour. Ray Parker was to pick me up and 
take me to New York, so when he sounded the horn of his car, I put down my brushes- 
washed up, and went off with him. When I returned a couple of days later and saw the 
painting, it looked fine. There was nothing else I wanted to do to it." 8 


The resulting painting represents in a number of ways another major step. The 
directness and rapidity with which it was painted are reflected in the loose, open organi- 
zation. The brush stroke is more assertively evident than in any previous work and lends 
to the entire surface a great sense of vitality. There is a rhythmic, linear movement from 
the center out to the edges of the picture. Because he was working on a canvas approxi- 
mately five feet square and because he stayed in one position while painting, the organi- 
zation was conditioned by the area he could reach without moving from place to place. 
Thus, almost accidentally, Guston discovered a pictorial form which delighted him and 
which he was to explore during the next several years in a variety of modes. The White 
Painting, although generally loose and open, achieves its greatest density towards the 
center and becomes progressively more open at the edges, with extensive areas of bare 
canvas framing the swirling, calligraphic brush strokes. The consciousness of the canvas 
square led to a certain emphasis on verticals and horizontals in the over-all design. 

Another White Painting, 1951 (Pedlar Collection), also of a square shape, exe- 
cuted the same summer, quickly developed the possibilities of the first. Although some- 
what more dense and textured, this is still an extremely light and openly painted work. 
Large areas of primed canvas frame the paint areas, particularly at top and bottom. The 
general orientation is more vertical and horizontal than the previous painting, again 
with a sense of outward radiation from a central focus. The color scheme is more varied, 
but still predominantly white and very light grays through which shine patches of light 
blue and ochre. In this picture, the brush strokes become less calligraphic, the total 
effect more painterly. Forms are built up by short, hatching brush strokes which begin 
to approximate that scintillating, luminous, and variegated paint surface which was to 
bring Guston the designation of "abstract impressionist." As an "abstract impression- 
ist" his influence quickly began to be apparent on a number of other painters. These two 
works and a whole series of 'white paintings' produced in 1952 represented as substan- 
tial a departure from the first abstract works as those from the figurative pieces. Guston 
had proved to himself that the conscious and painstaking construction of his earlier 
works was no longer necessary. He could work directly and, without intellectualizing, 
achieve an effect that was both firm in its structure and fresh and immediate in its im- 
pact. This is not to say that Guston had now become a purely 'intuitive' painter— what- 
ever that is. It was rather that the years of training and analysis of formal problems had 
now brought him to a point where he no longer had to reflect consciously about them 
while actually painting. Of course, he has continued to think about and experiment with 
construction. It was at this time that his interest in Mondrian began to develop, and 
both the economy and the sense of totality of many of the 1952 paintings may reflect 
this interest. He had now come to the realization that in painting taking out was also 
putting in. 

A second ochre painting (Ochre Painting 11) followed the first two white paint- 
ings in 1951 and represented something of a return to the over-all textured paintings 


which preceded them. Then in To B.W.T. (no. 18), painted early in 1952, (dedicated 
to Tomlin who died in 1953) appeared one of the most fully realized of his early ab- 
stractions. This is also an almost square painting with the paint structure reiterating the 
square. It is richer in total color than both the earlier white paintings and those that fol- 
lowed it in 1952. Reds, oranges, and yellows are massed in the center and towards the 
edges are imperceptibly modified to light blues and grays. The brush stroke is again 
crisp and short, defined within a general texture to create a quality of luminosity, of 
light not reflected from the canvas but imbedded and contained within it. This sense of 
an inner luminosity, which saturated the paintings of the next years, gave to these paint- 
ings their lyrical, expressive power, their quality of an event which transcended the 
abstract construction. 

To B.W.T. inaugurated the complete change of mood which characterized the 
paintings of the following several years. The first abstract works had been dark in color, 
sombre in mood, suggestive of the uncertainties of their conception and the labor of 
their creation. Now there emerged what can only be described as a quality of gaiety and 
delight, as though the artist had found his path or quite literally found a light through 
the shadows of his uncertainty. The paintings that followed To B.W.T. in 1952 were gen- 
erally light in key, with delicate rose shading through the white, sometimes rotating 
about a cruciform central axis of strong but economically distributed reds, yellows and 

The summer of 1952 in Woodstock saw one of the most productive periods of 
Guston's career up to this point. He completed ten paintings in rapid succession, averag- 
ing a week or two on each one. Within the generally light palette these paintings moved 
from the more over-all pattern of strongly defined though delicate color shapes to a 
greater and greater economy of effect. The paint is heavily textured and the final surface 
was arrived at by a constant scraping down and repainting of forms until a moment 
arrived when the artist realized that the painting was finished. The canvas was attacked 
quickly, a first series of forms laid in, and then the adjustments, the additions, and the 
eliminations continued as rapidly and with as little conscious construction as the hand 
could achieve. He worked, as he always had and still does, on one painting at a time; but 
the instant one was finished he moved on to another. While trying for a statement as 
direct as a momentary impulse, he continued to think a great deal about the entire ques- 
tion of painting. At this moment he was particularly concerned about the total rectangle, 
the attainment of an effect which could be immediately encompassed as a totality, not 
read from one passage to another. It was this more than the simple analogy of his verti- 
cal-horizontal emphases which drew r him to Mondrian. He recognized that Mondrian's 
great achievement was his ability to force the spectator to look at the work of art as an 
entity; and this he sought for in his own painting. While painting, he would frequently 
leave the studio for an interval and then return to see the painting as though he were 
looking at it for the first time. 


Although, during the summer, Guston more and more eliminated areas of strong 
color, the impact of those color shapes which remained, in their very isolation, achieved 
a greater intensity. The sparing use of intense color shapes made him increasingly con- 
scious of the vibrations which their relations set up one with the other. From these vi- 
brant color relationships emerged the sense of an inner light from the paintings; and the 
interactions of color shapes or forms became a theme, a subject, that he has continued 
to explore to the present time. 

By 1952 Guston had freed himself from any reference to nature and had ar- 
rived at his most abstract period, yet the painting continued to be an expression. At this 
time he was particularly interested in the works of a number of modern composers, and 
one of these, Morton Feldman, became a close friend- who felt in Guston's painting a kin- 
ship to his own music. In Feldman's music also, Guston felt the sense of intimacy, of the 
direct impulse which he was working for in his painting. Feldman introduced him to the 
works of Webern and the late sonatas of Debussy. 


In 1945 Guston had exhibited a number of his figure paintings at the Midtown 
Gallery. Not long after this exhibition he left the gallery and until 1952 was without a 
dealer, only occasionally contributing a single painting to a group show in New York, 
such as the pioneer Ninth Street Show. He showed in a number of Whitney Annuals 
during the Forties. In January of 1952 he had an exhibition at the Peridot Gallery, al- 
though he did not actually join this gallery. Here he showed the first dark and light 
abstract works together with a number of drawings. He had made drawings continually 
during the period of transition, clarifying many of his problems and thoughts in terms of 
generally quick but sometimes highly detailed abstract sketches. 

The successful production of the summer of 1952 was shown at the Egan Gal- 
lery in January, 1953. Both these exhibitions were generally damned by critics, who had 
liked his figurative paintings, and were shocked by the change in his w r ork. However, 
Paul Brach, the painter, who was then writing for Art Digest, strongly defended 
Guston's new style. Painters increasingly admired the new work. Robert Motherwell, in 
an interview for Art Digest (January 15, 1953) described the Egan exhibition as the 
event of the season. 

With the paintings in the Egan exhibition Guston had broken with his past of 
deliberate cubist construction, had achieved qualities of direct and immediate expres- 
sion, in works of great formal beauty and economy. As was suggested earlier, these 


K/v**~" nt*>/?M 

Drawing No. 9. 1951. Collection Miss June Herman, New York. 


Drawing No. 18. 1953. Lent by the artist. 


paintings, in their almost geometric simplicity, their assertion of the picture plane, were 
perhaps the most completely abstract works of Guston's entire career. In fact, they had 
become almost too abstract, almost too ephemeral for him. He felt a need for a greater 
solidity, the elimination of linear elements, for a kind of painting, as he has said, "which 
could not exist in any other medium." The result of this dissatisfaction was first that he 
did not paint for some months after the exhibition. Then, when he started on a canvas in 
the late spring, he worked on it for over three months before he achieved a result that sat- 
isfied him. Although he continued to avoid conscious construction, he painted over, 
shifted forms, scraped down, reworked areas, gradually narrowed down the alternatives 
until finally in a rush of intense work he arrived at a point where "the air of the arbitrary 
vanished and the paint fell into positions that seemed destined." Irving Sandler, drawing 
on the words of the artist, has given an excellent description of Guston's method of 
painting and his attitude towards his painting. 10 Guston himself has described how in the 
short time before a painting is finished, "suddenly in a state of high excitement I can 
see the entire work. Everything falls into place and I realize that there is nothing more 
I can do. It is for the few hours when I sense that I am approaching this moment that I am 
a painter." 

It is probable that this method and this attitude, which continue to characterize 
the work, were first completely formulated and realized during this period of change in 
1953. The first new painting to be completed in the summer of 1953 was Zone. 11 In it, 
the previously dispersed units of strong color have now moved together into a great cen- 
tral red mass, which begins to take on a shape of its own, to become a definite form, 
almost a figure floating on an atmospheric ground, a living, organic presence, with a 
sense of weight and a potential of movement. What he was trying to do was possibly not 
then as clear to him as it has become in retrospect, but there is no question in terms of the 
development from this work through those of the next years, that what he sought was a 
new subject, a sense of forms which were not merely color shapes but were objects capable 
of a mysterious interaction with one another. 

Attar, 1953 (no. 23), which followed Zone, and also was painted slowly be- 
tween June and October, continues the rose and gray palette which Guston has exploited 
so brilliantly. It is more of an atmospheric painting, with the forms dispersed, sugges- 
tive of a landscape rather than a figure and, although more asymmetrical, looking back 
in a curious way to To B. W. T. of early 1952. Although Guston's painting over the years 
has progressed in a logical and coherent manner, the stages are punctuated by certain 
works which seem to be throwbacks to an earlier phase, and by others which are delib- 
erate recapitulations of a number of ideas on which he has been working for a period 
of time. With Attar and Zone the painter began again to use titles, after numbering his 
paintings during 1952. His reason was simply that he found the numbers difficult to re- 
member or identify. Also, the reappearance of titles was undoubtedly a consequence of 


the reintroduction of a kind of subject. Titles to him must not be explicit; they must be 
oblique, a chance allusion, a personal association, a dedication to a friend. 

Painting in the Museum of Modern Art (no. 24) was completed in the late 
spring of 1954 and represented a further movement in the direction of the more 
solid and massive. The work continued to proceed slowly during 1954 with many paint- 
ings started and destroyed, and, as was normal during these periods of transition, the 
production of many drawings. Two key paintings were begun in 1954 and finished in 1955 
—Beggar's Joys (no. 25) and Room, I (no. 26). These resolved the temporary im- 
passe and were followed during 1955 by two more large, important works, (Bronze and 
For M, no. 28) . In all of these, the paint is built up, layer on layer to achieve a Renais- 
sance density. Color is more brilliant than at any previous stage, with great crimson areas 
towards the center bursting forth from the rose and gray fields. Now for the first time 
large, black forms begin to interact with the reds to further that dialogue of color shapes 
which are becoming living presences. No conscious geometric construction seems to exist, 
but a sense of order, of structure does, a structure that is organic, that is rooted in the 
quality of life itself. The textures and brush strokes are rougher, more violent; there is, 
throughout, a turmoil of activity, of implied movement of forms which maintain their 
identity but participate in some mysterious action with other forms. 

Guston is one of the few American painters associated with free abstraction who 
uses the entire paint vocabulary of the Renaissance and Baroque tradition including, as 
Dore Ashton has pointed out, the half tone to integrate the dominant colors with the ef- 
fects of atmosphere. 12 The paintings of 1954-1955 combine a greater mass in the color 
shapes with a greater atmospheric depth. In completely contemporary terms they begin 
to take on the solidity of the old masters. Room I was given its title because the red and 
black forms seemed to the artist to exist in a tangible space. 

Two more large paintings concluded the series. In The Visit, 1955, the forms are 
less weighty but more dynamic, more tilted, moving rapidly in and out of space. The 
untitled painting, 1955-56 (Teiger Collection, no. 30), quieter in mood, is again a sum- 
mation of the experiments of the last several years. 

In the fall of 1955, Guston moved back to New York and joined the Sidney Janis 
Gallery. He painted The Visit and the untitled Teiger picture and prepared for an exhi- 
bition at Janis in February, 1956. This exhibition finally brought to Guston the begin- 
ning of financial success, although he had to continue teaching to earn a living, until 1958. 
It is ironical that despite the fact that he had been recognized for years as a leading Amer- 
ican artist, between 1941 and 1956 Guston had only sold eleven paintings. Between 1948 
and 1956. after he had turned away from representation, he sold only two paintings, one 
to the Museum of Modern Art. Even in 1955 he was so impoverished that a friend was 
providing him with money for paints. The title of the painting. Beggar's Joys, reflects 
both his despondency at his beggar's condition and his exaltation in the final minutes of 
realizing the painting. 

In 1956, Guston also showed eight paintings in the Museum of Modern Art's 
12 Americans exhibition; and more serious studies of his work began to appear. Leo 
Steinberg, discussing the 12 Americans exhibition for Arts 13 saw Guston's paintings as 
"exposures of nerve-threaded flesh. It is as if the hollow of man's body— scarred and 
stained with sin and hunger, pain and nicotine— were flattened like an unrolled cylinder 
and clothes-pinned to the sky." He was reminded of Eliot's lines: 

When the evening is spread out against the sky 
Like a patient etherized upon a table 

While analysing in some detail the development of Guston's structures, Stein- 
berg was continually drawn back to associations, visceral and cosmic, anguished and 
joyful. Dore Ashton, writing in Arts and Architecture, 1 * saw Guston as the leader of a 
new age of lyricism, of the supreme expression of the inner world of the individual. She 
also emphasized the conflicting elements, the violent union of opposites of which the pic- 
tures were built. 

Since that time, Dore Ashton has devoted a number of excellent articles and a 
small book to Guston, and many other critics, including Irving Sandler, Lawrence Allo- 
way, and Sam Hunter 10 have written at length about him. While their points of view 
obviously differ, they are unanimous in their attempts to penetrate the mystery of the 
paintings as subject paintings, as works whose power of evocation is so great that they 
can never be thought of simply as colors arranged abstractly on a flat surface. And this 
is just, since the paintings of Guston during the last six years have increasingly become 
stages on which an intense drama is acted out by protagonists who are living forms if 
not represented figures. 

1956 produced three more brilliantly coloristic paintings, The Street 16 Voyage 
(no. 31) and Dial (no. 32). In Voyage, the forms are massed in a highly articulated 
manner, even suggestive once again of cubist structure, but maintaining the spon- 
taneity developed during the last few years. Dial has a more open, violent arrangement 
of the central colors, with active, strong but light red shapes pushing and pulling against 
blacks and greens, all enmeshed and interpenetrated by angry pinks of differing intensi- 
ties. With Prague 1 ' Guston began working with darker colors, here massed in large, 
strong and regular shapes. This and Painter's City, 1956-1957 (no. 33), inaugurated 
another major change in both color and mood, an intensification of the dramatic con- 
flict. The introduction of large areas of black marked an attempt to solve a formal problem 
—the presentation of black as an actual color which visually would hold its place on the 
picture plane and not sink into the background. 18 Even more important was the move to 
a more aggressive painting, filled with a conflict of tilted, rough, jagged shapes and 
brush strokes, contradictions and spatial tensions in which blacks move out in front of 
reds, foreground and background continually shift focus. 

Fable 1, 1956-1957 (no. 34), finished in January, 1957, introduces a predomi- 


nantly blue black palette, shot through with vivid oranges and greens. Here the entire 
space tilts. The blue and black, orange and green color shapes become not only living 
forms but actually take on the quality of a crowd of figures circling in depth in a dance 
that is a battle. The increasing sense of metamorphosis in Guston's painting, the tug of 
war between conflicting forms becomes most evident here. Dore Ashton has referred to 
the interaction of flux and stasis as a central characteristic of the later works. 19 Fable I 
introduced a strong element of fantasy which continued to grow in The Clock I (no. 35) 
and in a number of small oils produced during the summer of 1957. 

As noted above. Guston for many years had characteristically used drawing as a 
means of working out and clarifying his ideas about painting. Until 1954, he still did 
numbers of figure drawings (he was then still teaching figure drawing), but after 1949 
most of them had dealt with abstract themes. He explored forms in his drawings as he 
did in his paintings, experimenting with the creation of masses without contour, as in 
painting he increasingly began to experiment with black as a color. Between 1954 and 
1958 he produced few drawings, but from time to time he explored new ideas in terms 
of small paintings, oils, and for a period in 1958, gouaches. The small pictures had the 
obvious advantage that they could be done rapidly and directly. Individual forms could 
be isolated and their interactions made more emphatic. Ideas still nebulous could be 
played with, without the commitment of a large painting. 20 Thus the small oils and 
gouaches, like the drawings, are extremely important in frequently giving the first sug- 
gestion of themes later to be developed in major works. 

The element of exuberant fantasy is particularly evident in the small oils of 1957 
(e.g. Fable II; The Clock II; Rite, no. 38). The Clock II continues the dark palette of 
Fable I. but Fable II and Rite return to bright color with extensive use of brilliant gray- 
whites. The forms of all three take on grotesque and fantastic shapes, like monstrous bat- 
tling insects with tentacles shooting off into space. The quality of the forms as images— 
of what, it is impossible to say— is now evident. 

The excursion into dark painting, with heavy emphasis on powerful black 
shapes, was temporarily abandoned during the latter part of 1957. Cythera is a brilliant, 
light work, highly atmospheric, with more strongly colored forms clustered towards the 
bottom and seeming to compose themselves into figures. The Mirror ( no. 40 ) is positive 
in color, with the great red shapes moving spatially across each other and together taking 
on the character of some massive structure or machine. In Oasis (no. 41), the tempo 
quickens and the forms whirl about in a luminous space. In these works the blacks have 
been largely eliminated except for an occasional accent. During all the summer and fall 
of 1957 and into 1958. Guston was painting well and rapidly, in pictures such as these 
seeming to summarize and synthesize many of his ideas of the last several years. In 
Native's Return (no. 42), painted late in the winter of 1957, with its strongly held, 
regular, compacted reds and blues, there is again a suggestion of a return to cubist 
organization without, however, the sense of cubist, diagrammatic space. 


The last painting before the exhibition held at the Janis Gallery in February. 
1958. was Passage, 1957-1958 (no. 43), finished in January. In color this is the lightest 
keyed and most brilliant of the entire group, scintillating blues and whites to which 
attach themselves strange, grasping shapes of reds and greens. The colors are heavily 
textured at the same time as the forms are more open and transparent. This and the other 
highly keyed paintings of the latter part of 1957. although all more solidly painted, re- 
capture the mood of lightness and gaiety of the white paintings of 1952. The activity of 
the strong color forms, with their qualities of vitality and fantasy if anything increases 
the buoyancy of the mood. 

The 1958 exhibition at the Janis Gallery was received with enthusiasm by almost 
all the critics and resulted in further serious studies of the artist 21 . After the customary 
interval for reflection and re-examination of his work which follows every one-man exhi- 
bition. Guston began to paint again in the late winter and spring. He produced in rapid 
succession three large paintings which seemed to represent a reaction against the brilliant 
paintings of the show. These were Sleeper I, 22 Nile and To Fellini (no. 45 I. They are 
still rich in color but much more sombre and suggestive of a darker, heavier mood. Black 
forms are reintroduced to take a dominant part in the drama. In To Fellini a whole net- 
work of clearly articulated but closely joined individual blacks swarm over the reds and 
blues as though intent on devouring them. Only two strong green shapes at the edge 
seem safe from the menace. In these paintings and those that immediately followed them 
the drama of conflict which for some years had existed in Guston's use of color shapes, 
began to become explicit. With this also became explicit all the questions which must be 
asked concerning his place as an abstractionist, as a figurative painter, as a painter of 
subject or mood, or ideas. Guston himself has many times spoken eloquently and pas- 
sionately on these problems, and perhaps some of his w'ords can best be paraphrased. 23 

He does not think of himself as an abstract painter or a realist. Abstract paint- 
ing which is primarily concerned with problems of construction or formal relationships 
has no longer any interest for him. He becomes impatient when his works are criticized 
or analysed essentially in structural terms, in terms of "forms arranged within space 
against an atmospheric background." He continues to be much concerned with ques- 
tions of pictorial space and problems of structure, but only when he is not actuallv 
painting. Then he only seeks a condition in which the work grows under his hand in 
terms of the manner in which forms come into existence and begin to act upon, to have 
an effect on other forms, which in their turn are acting upon still others. During this 
process he is not involved with foreground or background or arrangement of forms for 
any deliberate effect of balance or symmetry or spatial existence. These, the normally 
described 'formal elements' exist, but they exist as a consequence of the life of the forms. 

He gauges the success of his painting by the variety and complexity of the inter- 
action of the forms. If a form has only a single relation to another he regards it as unsuc- 


Drawing No. 20. 1958. Lent by the artist. 

Drawing No. 29. 1960. Lent by the artist. 


cessful and scrapes it out or changes its position and context. This sense of the complex 
relation of living forms is something which he learned from his study of Renaissance 
and Baroque masters. In this definition he is willing to accept the designation of 'ab- 
stractionist' as he feels that in this definition they were abstract. 

Although, on the other hand, he does not think of himself as a realist, he is al- 
ways concerned with the objective world, frequently quite literally. When searching for 
an idea or a direction, a starting point, he will sometimes begin to paint the contents of 
his studio, the objects on his painting table, the scene outside his window. These excur- 
sions into representation he enjoys and finds refreshing, but then he begins to feel them 
unsatisfactory and even unreal. To paint a figure or a table or a tree so that it is simply 
recognizable seems an incomplete act. This is merely the repetition of the known, and to 
him the act of painting is the exploration of the unknown, the rapid moving from object 
to non-object to force new relations which he had not suspected were there. The painting 
is finished when object and non-object, representation and abstract means are sub- 
merged and participate in a totality of hitherto unknown relationships which are imme- 
diately recognizable by their familiarity. 

The approach to his painting which is here suggested is one towards which 
Guston had been moving at least since 1952. It is not a consciously arrived at position 
any more than the paintings are consciously constructed. Its verbalization is actually a 
recognition after the fact of an exploration in which his painting has been involved for 
many years. Obviously this approach is not one to which he has held with absolute con- 
sistency over the years; nor is it one to which he can be expected to hold without modifi- 
cation in the future. But an understanding of it is essential to all the later work up to the 
present, no matter what changes may be rung within that work. 

The three large paintings of early 1958 were followed by two small oils, Spring 
I and Spring II, and then by a series of fifteen small gouaches. The gouache medium 
was explored as a sort of refresher from oil painting, and particularly because its quick 
drying properties lent themselves to rapid exploration of a wide variety of new ideas. 
Here the generally more simplified forms suggest figures or trees or plants, living organ- 
isms though not specifically identifiable, which embrace, repulse, attack, swallow up or 
spew forth one another. Mott (no. 49) is dominated by a menacing monster, which is 
still a figure of fun and which has been described as an elephant-headed spider. Actor 
(no. 53) is a comedy of odd protagonists. A black, elongated mushroom figure in the 
center spews forth (or is swallowed up by) an undulent red figure at the right while a 
green hatted black dwarf shrinks away (or attacks) from the left. The title Actor as well 
as other titles in the series (Scene, Last Piece, Tivoli, Room, Summerhouse) suggest the 
degree in which Guston's forms have become living realities. The painting has become a 
stage on which the form-figures act out comedies and tragedies whose poetic language is 
the paint itself and whose plot is the painter's exploration of the unknown. 


The results of the experiments with gouache were immediately evident in the 
large and small oils which followed during the rest of 1958 and 1959. With a few excep- 
tions the color tends to the sombre, black and red forms with occasional passages of 
brilliant green, moving within areas of blue grays, brushed in violently. At times, in 
these later pictures, Guston seems to be abrogating all the qualities of elegance and bril- 
liant color which had first brought him success. However, as the recent works are stud- 
ied more clearly, it is seen that they are not a negation but an affirmation of constantly 
new and unexpected dramas of forms, new and unexpected spatial, color and atmos- 
pheric relationships. The sense of life grows constantly greater, the interactions of the 
forms constantly more intricate. In Poet, 1958, ( no. 59 ) a great black claw engulfs the 
reds and blues. Grove I, 1959, ( no. 63 | is one of the most richly coloristic of this pe- 
riod, with deep but dazzling blues, reds, and greens, shot through with yellow passages 
forming themselves into a large rectangular structure. From the top a massive black 
shape weighs down upon and threatens to destroy the others. Among the many small oils 
executed in 1959. Traveler I (no. 68 I is an exotic oriental architecture of rectangular 
red. blue, and green shapes weighed down by an even more massive black over the upper 
red. Wintergreen I is dominated by a single, black, triangular shape that rises from the 
bottom almost to the top of the picture, a black tornado swallowing small forms of 
orange and green. 

Winter Flower, 1959 (no. 71 ) has a vivid red form and an equally vivid blue 
bisected by a long, diagonal stem which moves across a strong green to end in a great 
black over orange flower which rests its weary head on a cloud-like gray. This painting 
illustrates the degree in which the general sobriety of the later works intensifies the vi- 
bration of the accents of brilliant color when these are used. The red and blue and green 
burst forth from the murk that surrounds them and the use of strong color under the 
blacks and grays makes these glow with an inner light. 

The last large painting of 1959, Painter I (no. 72), develops themes of the 
small oils. A black, machine-like form is capped by a blood red shape and enmeshed in a 
labyrinth of writhing gray brush strokes, through which in parts shine strong greens 
and blues and entangled pinks. 

The life of his forms had now become so involved with Guston"s subconscious 
that at times they became the objective reality. They had begun to lead their real life in 
a real space which existed before he put his brush on the canvas. As he painted, he felt 
that his primary task was not additive but subtractive, the elimination of extraneous ele- 
ments until the figures and their drama were revealed. 24 He was painting rapidly and 
continuously and increasingly felt that he was living in the painting. As the forms 
shifted from place to place, were scraped out. reconstituted, developed new relationships 
with other forms, they acquired a past, a history which became part of their existence 
and motivation in the finished work. 



Drawing No. 31. 1962. Lent by the artist. 


1960 and 1961 have been unusually productive years for Guston, despite the 
interruptions of two exhibitions at the Janis Gallery and a three month trip to Europe in 
the summer of 1960. Characteristically, most of the European trip was devoted to an in- 
tensive tour of Lmbria to restudy Piero della Francesca and to see those works he had 
not previously known at first hand. 

Traveler II. painted in March-April, I960, in its black and gray murkiness 
through which shine accents of brilliant green and red, its roughly brushed over-all tex- 
ture, sets the mood for most of the recent paintings. The darkness of these works, the 
submergence of bright color, the avoidance of all the qualities of lightness and elegance 
which had characterized earlier works, these elements have been equated to a darkness 
of mood, the expression of some inner torment of the artist. It is a fact that these later 
works have a curious affinity to the earliest abstractions, such as Tormentors and Review, 


iii the dominance of blacks or muddy grays and blues, confining strong colors which strug- 
gle to escape; as well as in the almost uncouth roughness of the paint handling. Whether 
this denotes a stage of major transition it is as yet impossible to say. It will be recalled 
that in 1956-1957, Guston experimented with a series of dark paintings which antici- 
pated much of the rough, violent quality of the most recent works, and then in the latter 
part of 1957 returned to a full and brilliant palette. At the present time, the artist seems 
unaware of any hidden 'anguish' or subconscious urge to establish a new direction. When- 
ever he is struggling with all the problems of a new painting, whatever its characteristics 
or mood may be, he suffers all the pains of doubt and uncertainty. However, when the 
parts begin to fall into place, the painting to resolve itself, he experiences the same exul- 
tation whether the work itself is light and elegant or dark and violent. 

At least from 1941 it is possible to trace in Guston's paintings an alternation of 
mood between the lyrical, romantic, richly painted, sensuously appealing, on the one 
hand; and the sombre, the violent, and the discordant, on the other. These alternations 
undoubtedly reflect conflicts within the artist, whether or not these conflicts have to do 
directly with the problems of painting. Guston, of course, is most aware of those con- 
scious conflicts arising from the continual exploration in his work of new and unknown 

Whatever may be the immediate or the ultimate raison d'etre for the recent 
work, there is no question that it represents the most completely logical summation of 
all the experiments with living forms and their interactions, which have obsessed him at 
least since 1953. Brilliant surface color, at least for the moment, has ceased to be impor- 
tant to him, although he frequently begins a painting in strong hues, then to scrape 
these down or paint over them. This fact may explain the sense of a continuing subter- 
ranean light which pervades even the darkest paintings, as it does those of Rembrandt 
or Goya. Clearly defined local color is avoided; large, closely keyed, positive forms of 
black, dark red, sombre orange, or grayed blues are unified in a general tonality. 
Guston has increasingly become obsessed with the idea of the paint as a living object, 
as the paint on a hand by Rembrandt is always the paint itself, no matter how brilliantly 
it may describe the hand. 

Traveler III. 1960 (no. 74), possibly an outgrowth of Winter Flower, 1959, is 
dominated by a great tree form spinning with cyclone violence on a slender stem. The 
stem has a curious sort of foot which gives the tree-shape the appearance of advanc- 
ing on the black and gray forms to the left. These positive forms are encompassed in a 
streaming veil of brush strokes which suddenly at the right open to a triangle of black 
and mysterious depth. Originally, the entire top of the painting was red and this was 
gradually eliminated until finally the black over red tree-shape emerged. 

The sense of the canvas as a place, a stage on which dramas are enacted by liv- 
ing forms becomes strongest in the most recent painting. Titles suggesting actual places 


recur frequently (Interior I, 1960; Room III, 1960; Composer's Landscape: To M.F., 1960; 
Garden of M, I960), 20 although some of these together with various Sleepers also have 
reference to periods when the artist was living in his studio, working around the clock, 
catching fragments of sleep when he was exhausted. From time to time, Guston has con- 
tinued his habit of painting directly objects in his studio or on his painting table, then 
to see how far he can go in eliminating the representational elements (e.g. Table, 1960, 
no. 77 and Blue Table, 1960, no. 81). The vestiges of the objects together with the 
titles of these paintings have caused considerable speculation on the part of some critics 
as to whether he is now on the verge of abandoning abstraction and returning to the fig- 
ure. 2 " It might equally be well argued that he has never been an abstractionist but has 
always been involved in subject painting. Whether the subjects will ever again be clear 
representations of objective nature will probably depend on whether he can ever again 
find a reason for painting a figure or a landscape. At the present time, the painting of a 
'likeness' still seems to him to be an irrelevance. 

Alchemist, 1960 (no. 78) carries through a dominant blue tonality into which 
highly irregular black and dark red forms are assimilated to make of the entire paint 
area a single color shape framed in areas of primed canvas. The whole painting pivots 
about a single, regular, egg-shaped dark blue, a form in orbit which both holds the sur- 
face and opens up the painting to an illimitable depth. This regular ovoid form appeared by 
itself in the process of painting, and the artist was so intrigued by the manner in which 
it controlled, in an almost magical way (hence, Alchemist) the total picture space, that 
he has utilized variants in a number of subsequent works. These circular or ovoid shapes 
frequently take on a quality of personal fantasy; they become at times celestial objects, 
apparitions, or decapitated heads rolling on a hill (e.g. Garden of M, 1960) . 

Composer's Landscape: To M.F., 1960, was painted in the fall at Woodstock 
after the return from Europe, and still has reminiscences of actual fall landscapes with 
which he experimented as he began painting again. However, it also becomes an inter- 
action of tree-like black and red shapes embracing one another; as well as a reflection of 
a revived interest in spatial and architectural problems brought about by his pilgrimage 
to the Urbino of Piero. 

The February, 1961, exhibition at the Janis Gallery was highly controversial. 27 
It was disturbing for the artist not so much because of the controversy, but because to 
him it seemed to be one of his most profoundly personal statements. The sense of his 
forms as living presences, composed of paint which was a living essence, and existing 
within the canvas which was an actual place, seemed to him to have become completely 


explicit. After the exhibition he was not able to paint again until June, but then during 
the summer and fall he produced rapidly four large paintings and a number of small 
ones. In these there is a still further development of the drama of paint on the stage of 
the canvas. Duo, 1961, (no. 91) is dominated by two great black personages in con- 
clave in a miasmic gray setting. The figures open and close, that to the right over grayed 
but luminous reds; that to the left interpenetrated by the gray of the setting and peering 
forth from a brilliant green eye. The black personages stand forth from a limited but 
very tangible depth composed of the grays that go under and through the blacks; blues, 
oranges and pinks that go under the floating grays. Each brush stroke vibrates with life 
as the total mass of the strokes bind together every part of the picture into an entity. 

The Tale, 1961, (no. 89) and Close-Up III, 1961 (no. 90) both suggest the 
dramatic interplay of the protagonists and the architecture of the stage itself. The Tale 
is richer and more varied in color; the gesticulating black shapes stand out in silhouette 
from the gray curtain; brilliant oranges, blues, pinks, reds, scintillate everywhere in the 
background of the more tonal blues and grays. The tempo of the drama has here accel- 
erated into a frenzy of climactic action. Close-Up III is more sombre in mood, dominated 
in the center by a black shape like a catafalque. If Duo is the exposition, The Tale, the 
development, then Close-Up III is the tragic resolution. 

The sense of a continuing drama, a three act tragedy, which one derives from 
these three paintings seen together, may be purely accidental, a subjective reading on 
the part of the spectator. However, it is curious and interesting to note that the large 
paintings were followed in October of 1961, immediately before Guston returned to 
New York, by four small oils, painted in four or five days, to which he gave the titles 
Actor I, Actor II, Actor III. and Actor IV (nos. 92-95). And these he did think of quite 
consciously as four acts or situations, which together made up four stages of a drama. 

The painting of Philip Guston has shown a great variety but a remarkably con- 
sistent development over the last twenty-five years. Even when he made the major change 
from recognizable subject to abstraction, the relations of the abstract works to the repre- 
sentational ones were perhaps more significant than the differences. At no time during his 
entire career has he been solely interested in formal or structural problems to the exclu- 
sion of subject or expressive content. He is now in mid-career, painting with furious 
energy, enlarging his vocabulary and exploring new ideas. It may be expected that in 
his future work the range and variety demonstrated in the past will be further ex- 
panded; and it may also be expected that the underlying theme, the dialogue between 
subject and abstract structure will continue. 



1 . The terms "figurative", "abstractionist", and "abstract expressionist" are here used in 
their generally understood definitions. "Figurative" painting involves the use of figures 
or other recognizable subject matter taken from nature. "Abstract" painting eliminates 
all recognizable natural objects and traditionally emphasizes the formal or structural 
elements. "Abstract expressionism" has introduced into abstract painting the element 
of emotion expressed through the abstract means of color, line, brush texture, isolated 
forms of color shapes, etc. The application to Guston's works of these definitions is 
discussed at length in this paper. The word "form", in its specific sense, (a form within 
a painting rather than the form of a painting) has reference to a clearly defined color 

2. Guston has recently discovered that the Queensbridge Housing Project mural has been 
completely repainted by some unknown hand. He is now attempting to have his name re- 
moved from the mural or to see whether it is possible to have it restored. 

3. Before 1941. Guston had painted no more than seven or eight easel pictures, including a 
Mother and Child, c. 1930, and the Ku Klux Klan painting, Conspiracy, 1932, Bombard- 
ment, 1937, and the picture of fighting children, 1940, referred to below. The easel 
paintings of the Thirties, when the self-taught artist was still learning his craft, were 
still in the category of student efforts. His first works as a professional artist he considers 
to be the murals of the late Thirties and early Forties. 

Although he had left the Project in 1941, the mural for the Social Security Building 
in Washington, a commission granted by the Treasury Department's Section of Fine 
Arts, was not actually completed until 1942, nor installed until 1943. This was the con- 
sequence of the long interval between the original cartoons which he presented in 1939 
and the final awarding of the commission. 

4. Interview with the artist, January, 1962. 

5. H. W. Janson, "Philip Guston," The Magazine of Art, Washington, D.C., no. 40, February, 
1947, p. 54. This article and Janson's earlier article, " 'Martial Memory' by Philip 
Guston and American Painting Today," St. Louis Museum Bulletin, St. Louis, vol. 27, 
nos. 3-4, 1942, pp. 34-41, are the most important studies of the figurative paintings of 
the Forties. 

6. Guston frequently uses the same title for different paintings distinguishing them by 
numbers (e.g. Somersault and Somersault II). The title of the first painting sometimes 
includes a number and sometimes does not. For consistency in this paper, the first 
painting in the series is given a number. 

7. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, New York. Not in exhibition. 

8. Interview with the artist, January, 1962. 

9. Most of the paintings for this year were numbered rather than given titles, a procedure 
which Guston abandoned the following year. See Painting No. 6, 1952, (no. 20) and 
Painting No. 10, 1952. 


10. "Guston paints from area to area until the forms have battled with and partaken of one an- 
other—until he has suffered them. He works in a condition of mounting 'tension provoked 
by the contradictions... in painting.' As the forms 'shed their minor relations and confront 
each other more nakedly' he reaches a 'state of "unfreedom" where only certain things 
can happen, (where) unaccountably the unknown and the free must appear.' Culminat- 
ing in a total vision— which is the earned moment— Guston breaks the shackles of past 
categories, and the urgencies within himself are free to find their own shape; the image 
begins to 'pull' for its own 'light', 'its sense of place.' The paradoxes no longer withstand 
solution: the forms maintain their identity yet charge all other forms in a new, un- 
predicted way. The structure emerges only as an end result, the function of the equilib- 
rium achieved. Guston says that, 'what is seen and called a picture is what remains— 
an evidence.' The painting crosses 'the narrow passage from a diagramming to that other 
state— a corporeality.' It ceases to be the subjective extension of the artist and becomes 
a presence, a sudden oneness that cannot be translated back into its parts. 

"When Guston confronts a finished canvas, he feels he has revealed an organism that 
has always existed. He is surprised both at its familiarity and at its newness. Surprise is 
the crucial element. It is not enough to say 'that expresses exactly how I feel'; he insists 
on being able to say T never knew I felt like that.' Ultimately, each painting becomes a 
trap to be eluded; the unknown remains; the 'drama of the process' must be repeated." 
Irving Sandler, "Guston: A Long Voyage Home," Art News, New York, vol. 58, no. 8, 
December. 1959, p. 65. 

11. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Heller. New York. Not in exhibition. 

12. Dore Ashton. Philip Guston, New York, Grove Press, 1959, pp. 51-56. See also articles 
by her in Arts and Architecture (bibliography passim) and in Metro, Milan, no. 3, 
1962, pp. 33-41. 

13. Leo Steinberg, "Fritz Glarner and Philip Guston Among '12 Americans' at the Museum 
of Modern Art," Arts, New York, vol. 30, June, 1956. pp. 42-45. 

14. Dore Ashton, "Art: The Age of Lyricism," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 73, 
no. 3, March, 1956, pp. 14-15, 43-44. 

15. See bibliography. 

16. Collection of Mr. Harvey Kaplan, Chicago. Not in exhibition. 

17. Collection of Mr. Arnold Maremont, Chicago. Not in exhibition. 

18. At various periods, Guston has concentrated on a single color, using it in a great variety 
of ways in order to discover all its potentialities. Thus, in the mid-Fifties, he exploited 
reds and recently has been using a brilliant green for many of his key color shapes. 

19. Dore Ashton, "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 75. no. 5. May, 1958. p. 29: 
Irving Sandler, "Guston: A Long Voyage Home." Art News, New York, vol. 58, no. 8. 
December. 1959. p. 36. 

20. Guston never paints larger than approximately 6 to 6%' square, since he does not like 
the idea of moving from place to place in order to cover a canvas. 

21. See bibliography-1958. 

22. Collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art. Not in exhibition. 

23. Interview with the artist. January, 1962. 

24. Michelangelo expressed much the same idea in relation to sculpture. 

25. It should be noted that the paintings to which Guston gives the same title and numbers 
(Room I, Room II, Room III) may have nothing to do with one another stylistically or 
in subject treatment. It is in fact usually the case that the "room" in each instance is a 
room in a different context. 

26. See John Canaday. "Vote of Confidence," New York Times, New York, February 19. 1961. 

27. John Canaday and Irving Sandler were favorable, while Emily Genauer and Sidney Tillim 
were unfavorable. See bibliography— 1961. 



Unless otherwise noted, paintings are lent by the artist. 

1. MARTIAL MEMORY. 1941. Oil on canvas, 39% x 32%". 
Collection City Art Museum of St. Louis. 

2. SANCTUARY. 1944. Oil on canvas, 22% x 35%". 

3. IF THIS BE NOT 1. 1945. Oil on canvas, 41% x 55%". 
Collection Washington University, St. Louis. 

4. SOMERSAULT 1. 1945. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Monica, New York. 

5. PORCH I. 1946-47. Oil on canvas, 56% x 34". 

Collection Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana. 

6. PORCH II. 1947. Oil on canvas, 62% x 43%". 

Collection Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York. 

7. UNTITLED. 1947. Oil on canvas, 11 x 9". 
Collection Fletcher Martin, Woodstock, New York. 

8. TORMENTORS. 1947-48. Oil on canvas, 40% x 60%". 

9. REVIEW. 1948-49. Oil on canvas, 39% x 59". 

10. UNTITLED. 1949. Gouache, 15% x 22%". 

11. RED PAINTING. 1950. Oil on canvas, 34 x 62%". 

12. PAINTING NO. 6. 1951. Oil on canvas, 31% x 45%". 


13. OCHRE PAINTING I. 1951. Oil on canvas, 28% x 45%". 
Collection Mrs. George Poindexter, New York. 

14. WHITE PAINTING 1. 1951. Oil on canvas. 57% x 01%". 

15. WHITE PAINTING II. 1951. Oil on canvas, 50 x 50%". 
Collection Mrs. William A. Pedlar, New York. 

16. OCHRE PAINTING II. 1951. Oil on canvas, 41 x 47". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Olin J. Stephens II, Scarsdale, New York. 

17. THE BELL. 1952. Oil on canvas, 46 x 39%". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Fred Neisner, Rochester, New York. 

18. TO B.W.T. 1952. Oil on canvas, 48 x 51". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Brown, Springfield, Massachusetts. 

19. PAINTING. 1952. Oil on canvas, 48 x 50%". 
Collection Mrs. Albert H. Newman, Chicago. 

20. PAINTING NO. 6. 1952. Oil on canvas, 48Y4 x 36". 
Collection Department of Art, State College of Iowa, Cedar Falls. 

21. PAINTING NO. 9. 1952. Oil on canvas, 48% x 60y4". 
Collection Sophie and Boris Leavitt, Hanover, Pennsylvania. 

22. PAINTING NO. 10. 1952. Oil on canvas, 51 x 48". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Morton Neumann, Chicago. 

23. ATTAR. 1953. Oil on canvas, 48% x 46". 
Collection Morton Feldman, New York. 

24. PAINTING. 1954. Oil on canvas, 63 V* x 60V4". 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Philip C. Johnson. 

25. BEGGAR'S JOYS. 1954-55. Oil on canvas, 71% x 68%". 
Collection Sophie and Boris Leavitt, Hanover, Pennsylvania. 

26. ROOM I. 1954-55. Oil on canvas, 71% x 60". 
Lent by Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles. 

27. BRONZE. 1955. Oil on canvas, 76% x 73". 
Collection The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 

28. FOR M. 1955. Oil on canvas, 76% x 72%". 
Private Collection, Los Angeles. 

29. THE VISIT. 1955. Oil on canvas, 68% x 58%". 
Collection Mrs. Meyer Kestnbaum, Chicago. 

30. UNTITLED. 1955-56. Oil on canvas, 75% x 72". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. David A. Teiger, West Orange, New Jersey. 

31. VOYAGE. 1956. Oil on canvas, 71% x 76%". 

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Gift of Seymour H. Knox. 

32. DIAL. 1956. Oil on canvas, 72 x 76V4". 

Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 


33. PAINTER'S CITY. 1956-57. Oil on canvas, 65 x 77". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. I. Donald Grossman, New York. 

34. FABLE I. 1956-57. Oil on canvas, 64% x 76". 
Collection Washington University, St. Louis. 

35. THE CLOCK I. 1957. Oil on canvas, 76 x 64". 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mrs. Bliss Parkinson. 

36. FABLE II. 1957. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 24% x 35%". 

37. THE CLOCK II. 1957. Oil on pressed wood, 24% x 35%". 
Collection Eric Estorick, London. 

38. RITE. 1957. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 24% x 35 Vz" . 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

39. CYTHERA. 1957. Oil on canvas, 72% x 63%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Donald M. Blinken, New York. 

40. THE MIRROR. 1957. Oil on canvas, 68% x 61". 
Collection Joseph H. Hazen, New York. 

41. OASIS. 1957. Oil on canvas, 61% x 68". 
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection, New York. 

42. NATIVE'S RETURN. 1957. Oil on canvas, 64% x 75%". 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D. C. 

43. PASSAGE. 1957-58. Oil on canvas, 65 x 74". 
Collection Mrs. Phyllis B. Lambert, New York. 

44. NILE. 1958. Oil on canvas, 65 x 75%". 
Collection Mrs. Thomas W. Blake, Jr., Dallas. 

45. TO FELLINI. 1958. Oil on canvas, 69 x 74". 
Private Collection, New York. 

46. SPRING 1. 1958. Oil on board. 21% x 29%". 

47. SPRING II. 1958. Oil on board, 21% x 29%". 

48. SUMMERHOUSE. 1958. Gouache, 22 x 30". 
Collection Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Brodsky, New York. 

49. MOTT. 1958. Gouache, 22% x 28%". 

Collection Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Alpers, Los Angeles. 

50. RED BLACK. 1958. Gouache, 20 x 29%". 

51. SCENE. 1958. Gouache, 21% x 29%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

52. TIVOLI. 1958. Gouache, 21% x 29%". 
Collection F. H. Kissner, New York. 

53. ACTOR. 1958. Gouache, 22% x 28%". 

54. THE ROOM. 1958. Gouache, 21% x 29%". 


55. LAST PIECE. 1958. Gouache, 21% x 29%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

56. THE RETURN. 1956-58. Oil on canvas, 70 x 78". 
Lent by the Trustees of the Tate Gallery, London. 

57. UNTITLED. 1958. Oil on canvas, 64 x 75%". 

58. SLEEPER II. 1958-59. Oil on canvas, 68 x 65". 
Lent by Dwan Gallery. Los Angeles. 

59. POET. 1958. Oil on canvas. 63% x 52". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Morris H. Grossman, New York. 

60. CLOSE-UP I. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on canvas. 23% x 28%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Leon A. Mnuchin, New York. 

61. WARWICK I. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 22% x 29%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

62. AUGUST 23. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 23 % x 29". 

63. GROVE I. 1959. Oil on canvas. 69 x 72%". 
Collection Lee V. Eastman. Scarsdale. New York. 

64. PATH I. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 31 x 40%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

65. TURN. 1959. Oil on board, 22% x 28%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

66. WILD GRAPE. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood. 22% x 28%". 

67. CLOSE-UP II. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 23% x 29". 

68. TRAVELER I. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 31% x 32 %". 

69. ROAD. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 22% x 29%". 

70. WINTERGREEN I. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 31% x 32 %". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. James Roemer, Warren, Ohio. 

71. WINTER FLOWER. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 30% x 40%" 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Weisman, Los Angeles. 

72. PAINTER I. 1959. Oil on canvas. 65 x 69". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. J. Daniel Weitzman, New York. 

73. TRAVELER II. 1960. Oil on canvas. 65 x 73". 
Lent by Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles. 

74. TRAVELER III. 1959-60. Oil on canvas. 65 x 72". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Donald M. Blinken, New York. 

75. ROOM III. 1960. Oil on board, 29% x 37y4". 

76. SLEEPER III. Oil on board. 29% x 40". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Carlo M. Grossman. New York. 


77. TABLE. 1960. Oil on board, 30 x 40". 
Collection The Baltimore Museum of Art. 

78. ALCHEMIST. 1960. Oil on canvas, 61 x 67". 

Collection The Michener Foundation, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

79. PATH III. 1960. Oil on canvas, 64% x 76%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

80. FALL. 1960. Oil on paper, 22% x 28%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Reis, New York. 

81. BLUE TABLE. 1960. Oil on paper, 42% x 32%". 

82. PAINTER II. 1959-60. Oil on canvas, 69 x 57". 

83. COMPOSER'S LANDSCAPE: TO M. F. 1960. Oil on canvas, 49 x 47". 

84. SEPTEMBER. 1960. Oil on board, 29% x 38%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

85. VESSEL. 1960. Oil on board, 30 x 21%". 

86. EDGE. 1960. Oil on canvas, 68 x 76". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

87. GARDEN OF M. 1960. Oil on canvas, 68 x 78". 
Lent by Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles. 

88. HILL. 1961. Oil on paper mounted on pressed wood, 40 x 30%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

89. THE TALE. 1961. Oil on canvas, 68% x 72". 

90. CLOSE-UP III. 1961. Oil on canvas. 70 x 72". 
Collection Lee V. Eastman, Scarsdale. New York. 

91. DUO. 1961. Oil on canvas, 72% x 68". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

92. THE ACTORS I. 1961. Oil on board, 29% x 39%". 

93. THE ACTORS II. 1961. Oil on board, 30 x 40". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

94. THE ACTORS III. 1961. Oil on board, 29% x 39%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

95. THE ACTORS IV. 1961. Oil on board, 30 x 40". 

96. THE SCALE. 1961. Oil on canvas, 76 x 74%". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

97. NORTH. 1961-62. Oil on canvas, 69 x 77". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

98. UNTITLED. 1962. Oil on canvas, 68 x 78". 
Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 



7. Martial Memory. 1941. Collection City Art Museum of St. Loui. 

2. Sanctuary. 1944. Lent by the artist. 

6. Porch II. 1947. Collection Munson-lFilliams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York. 



8. Tormentors. 1947-48. Lent by the artist. 

9. Review. 1943-49. Lent by the artist. 



10. Untitled. 1949. Lent by the artist. 

11. Red Painting. 1950. Lent by the artist. 



14. While Painting I. 1951. Lent by the artist. 


au ..... 


18. To B.W.T. 1952. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Brown, Springfield, Massachusetts. 

19. Painting. 1952. Collection Mrs. Albert H. Neivman, Chicago. 



20. Painting No. 6. 1952. Collection Department of Art, State College of Iowa, Cedar Falls. 


■ V 


V' '' \. 

23. Attar. 1953. Collection Morton Feldman, New York. 


24. Painting. 1954. Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift oj Philip C. Johnson. 



25. Beggar's Joys. 1954-55. Collection Sophie and Boris Leavitt, Hanover, Pennsylvania. 

26. The Room. 1954-55. Lent by Divan Gallery, Los Angeles. 



28. For M. 1955. Private Collection, Los Angeles. 







30. Untitled. 1955-56. Collection Mr. and Mrs. David A. Teiger, West Orange, New Jersey. 


31. Voyage. 1956. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery,Bu.ffalo,New York. Gift of Seymour H.Knox. 



32. Dial. 1956. Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 



33. Painter's City. 1956-57. Collection Mr. and Mrs. I. Donald Grossman. New York. 

34. Fable I. 1956-57. Collection Washington University, St. Lou 


J * f- \ 

35. The Clock I. 1957. Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mrs. Bliss Parkinson. 



36. Fable II. 1957. Lent by the artist. 

38. Rite. 1957. Lent by Sidney J anis Gallery, New York. 




40. The Mirror. 1957. Collection Joseph H. Hazen, New York. 



41. Oasis. 1957. Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection, New York. 

*# *.» 

42. Native's Return. 195T. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 




%^sm - m 




43. Passage. 1957-58. Collection Mrs. Phyllis B. Lambert, Neiv York. 


45. To Fellini. 1958. Private Collection, New York. 



49. Molt. 1958. Collection Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Alpers, Los Angeles. 

53. Actor. 1958. Lent by the artist. 



56. The Return. 1956-58. Lent by the Trustees oj the Tate Gallery, London. 

57. Untitled. 1958. Lent by the artist. 


59. Poet. 195S. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Morris H.Grossman, New York. 



60. Close-up I. 1959. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Leon, A. Mnuchin, New York. 

66. Wild Grape. 1959. Lent by the artist. 


63. Grove I. 1959. Collection Lee V. Eastman, Scarsdale, New York. 



68. Traveler I. 1959. Lent by the artist. 

71. Winter Flower. 1959. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Weisman, Los Angeles. 


72. Painter 1. 1959. Collection Mr. and Mrs. J. Daniel Weitzman. New York. 



74. Traveler 111. 1959-60. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Donald M.Blinken, New York. 

77. Table. 1960. Collection The Baltimore Museum of Art. 



81. Blue Table. 1960. Lent by the artist. 

78. Alchemist. 1960. Collection The Michener Foundation, Allentown Art Mus 

eum, Allentown, Pennsylvania. 



79. Path III. 1960. Lent by Sidney J anis Gallery, New York. 




S2. Painter 11. 1959-60. Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, Xeic York. 


90. Close-up III. 1961. Collection Lee ).' Eastman, Scarsdale, New York. 


91. Duo. 1961. Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 


92. The Actors I. 1961. Lent by the artist. 


93. The Actors II. 1961. Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 

94. The Actors III. 1961. Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery. New York. 

95. The Actors IT. 1961. Lent by the artist. 


96. The Scale. 1961. Lent by Sidney Jams Gallery, New York. 



97. North. 1961-62. Lent by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. 


Unless otherwise noted drawings are lent by the artist. 

DRAWING NO. 1 (TORMENTORS). 1947. Ink, 15 x 22%". 

DRAWING NO. 2 (ISCHIA). 1949. Ink, UYi x 15%". 

DRAWING NO. 3. 1949. Charcoal, llY* x 21%". 

DRAWING NO. 4. 1950. Ink, 24% x 38 7 /s". 

DRAWING NO. 5. 1950. Ink. 12y 4 x 16%". 

DRAWING NO. 6. 1950. Ink, 12 x 16 Y4". 

DRAWING NO. 7. 1950. Ink, 16% x 12%". 

DRAWING NO. 8. 1950. Ink, 12 % x 16%". 

DRAWING NO. 9. 1951. Ink, 17 x 23%". 
Collection Miss June Herman, New York. 

DRAWING NO. 10. 1951. Ink, 18 x 21%". 

DRAWING NO. 11. 1951. Ink, 18% x 23%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Matter, New York. 


DRAWING NO. 12. 1952. Ink. 18 x 24". 

DRAWING NO. 13. 1952. Ink, 12 x 17%". 

DRAWING NO. 14. 1953. Ink. 17% x 22%". 

DRAWING NO. 15. 1953. Ink. 17 x 21 7 /s". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adja Yunkers, New York. 

DRAWING NO. 16. 1953. Ink. 11% x 17%". 

DRAWING NO. 17. 1953. Ink, 17% x 23%". 

DRAWING NO. 18. 1953. Ink, 16% x 21%". 

DRAWING NO. 19 (RELATED TO ZONE). 1954. Ink, 17% x 23 %". 
Collection David Herbert, New York. 

DRAWING NO. 20. 1958. Ink, 20 x 24%". 

DRAWING NO. 21. 1958. Ink, 19 x 24". 

DRAWING NO. 22. 1958. Ink, 17% x 22". 

DRAWING NO. 23. 1960. Ink on board, 18% x 23%". 

DRAWING NO. 24. 1960. Ink, 18 x 24". 

DRAWING NO. 25. 1960. Ink, 18% x 23%". 

DRAWING NO. 26. 1960. Ink. 17% x 24". 

DRAWING NO. 27. 1960. Ink. 18% x 23". 

DRAWING NO. 28. 1960. Ink, 18 x 24". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Kunitz, New York. 

DRAWING NO. 29. 1960. Ink, 17% x 23%". 
DRAWING NO. 30. 1961. Ink, 10% x 13%". 
DRAWING NO. 31. 1962. Ink, 22 x 28". 



< lllCO\OI <H.1 

1913 Born in Montreal, Canada 

1919 Moved to Los Angeles, California 

1930 Studied several months, Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles 

1934 Traveled in Mexico 

1934-35 Worked in Public Works Administration, Los Angeles 

1936 Moved to New York City 

1936-40 Worked in mural division of WPA Federal Arts Project 

1937 Married Musa McKim 

1938-42 Commissions from Treasury Department's Section of Fine Arts 

1941-45 Visiting Artist. State University of Iowa 

1944 First one-man show, State University of Iowa 

1945 Awarded First Prize, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 
First New York exhibition. Midtown Galleries 

1945-47 Visiting Artist, Washington University, St. Louis 

1947 Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship 
Moved to Woodstock, New York 

1948 Awarded $1,000 grant from American Academy of Arts and Letters 
Awarded Prix de Rome 

1948-49 Traveled for a year in Italy, Spain, and France 

1950 Visiting Artist, Spring Quarter, University of Minnesota 

1951 Moved to Woodstock, New York, and New York City 
1951-59 Taught drawing, New York University 

1953-57 Taught drawing, Pratt Institute, New York 

1959 Awarded S10.000 grant from Ford Foundation 



Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo 

Art Institute of Chicago 

The Baltimore Museum of Art 

Cleveland Museum of Art 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New \ork 

Krannert Art Museum. University of Illinois, Urbana 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

The Michener Foundation, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts 

Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 

City Art Museum of St. Louis 

Department of Art, State College of Iowa, Cedar Falls 

Tate Gallery, London 

Washington University, St. Louis 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New \ork 

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts 



1944 University of Iowa, Iowa City 

1945 Midtown Galleries, New York 

1947 School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York 
1950 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 

1952 Peridot Gallery, New York 

1953 Egan Gallery, New York 

1956 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 

1958 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 

1959 Retrospective one-man exhibition at the V Bienal, Sao Paulo, Brazil 

1960 One-man exhibition at the XXX Biennale, Venice 
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 

1961 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 

Two-man exhibition, with Franz Kline, Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles 

MAJOII l.llltl l> ■ Mllltl I IONS 

See also listing of Exhibition Catalogues 

Exhibitions listed below include two or more paintings by the artist. 

1951 40 American Painters, 1940-1950. University of Minnesota, Mineapolis 
1953 Abstract Expressionists. Baltimore Museum of Art 

1956 12 Americans. The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

1957 IV Bienal. Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo, Brazil 

1958 Primera Bienal Interamericana de Pintura y Grabado. Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City 
The New American Painting. The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

1959 Eighteen Living Americans. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 
Kunst Nach 1945. II. Documenta. Cologne, Kassel 

1961-62 The Sidney Janis Painters. John & Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota 

1961-62 American Vanguard. Austria, Yugoslavia, London, circulated by the United States Information Agency 


1939 Facade, WPA Building, New York World's Fair 

1940 Queensbridge Housing Project, New York 

1941 Forestry Building, Laconia, New Hampshire (Collaboration with Musa McKim) 

1942 Social Security Building, Washington, D.C. 




"Statement." 12 Americans, New York. The Museum of Modern Art. 1956. p. 36 

"Art in New York." Sam Hunter. Playbill, New York. vol. 1. no. 8, November. 1957. pp. 52-53 (interview) 

"Statement."' Bradley Walker Tomlin. New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. 1957, p. 9 

Recorded interview with June Pring. New York. Columbia University. June 25. 1957 

"Statement." Francis Celentano. The Origins and Development of Abstract Expressionism in the United States, New York, unpublished 

Master's Thesis. New \ork University, 1957 

"Statement." It Is, New York. no. 1, Spring, 1958. p. 44 

"Statement." Nature in Abstraction, New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. 1958. p. 69 

"Statement." The New American Painting. New York. The Museum of Modern Art. 1958-59. pp. 40-43 

"Panel Discussion." It Is, New York, no. 5. Spring. 1960. pp. 2. 34-38 I with Philip Guston. Robert Motherwell. Ad Reinhardt. Harold 

Rosenberg. Jack Tworkov) 

Recorded interview with H. H. Arnason. New \ork. The Solomon R. Guesrenheim Museum, January 22-30. 1962 

II. >iOMM,ll\l>ll 

Ashton, Dore. Philip Guston, New York. Grove Press. 1959 


Group Show. New \ork. National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1948 

Philip Guston. Minneapolis. The University Gallery. University of Minnesota. April 10-May 12. 1950 i contains twelve reproductions of 

early work: documentation includes awards, teaching positions, commissions, etc. I 

Contemporary American Painting. 5th Biennial Purchase Exhibition, Introduction by H. H. Arnason. Minneapolis. Walker Art Center. 

October 15-December 10. 1950 

Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America. Introduction by Andrew C. Ritchie. New \ork. The Museum of Modern .Art. January 23- 

March 25. 1951 

Exhibition oj Paintings and Sculpture. New York. Ninth Street Gallery, May 21-June 10. 1951 

40 American Painters, 1940-1950, Introduction by H. H. Arnason. Minneapolis. The University Gallery. University of Minnesota. June 4- 

August 30. 1951 

Painting 1948-1951 by Philip Guston. New York. Peridot Gallery. January 2-26, 1952 

American Vanguard Art tor Paris Exhibition. New York. Sidney Janis Gallery. December 26. 1951-January 5. 1952: Paris. Galerie de 

France. February 26-March 15, 1952 

Abstract Expressionists. Baltimore. The Baltimore Museum of Art. March 3-29. 1953 

Younger American Painters. New York. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. May 12-September 26. 1954 

Italy Re-Discovered. Utica. New York. Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. March 6-27. 1955 


Catalogue. New York, Sidney Janis Gallery. February 6-March 3, 1956 

7 Americans. New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, September 24-October 20, 1956 

12 Americans. New York, The Museum of Modern Art, May 29-September 9, 1956 
Catalogue. Sao Paolo, Brazil, Museu de Arte Moderna, September, 1957 

8 Americans. New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, April 1-20. 1957 

Nature in Abstraction. New York. Whitney Museum of American Art, January 14-March 16, 1958 (circulated to six American cities by 
the Whitney Museum) 

Primera Bienal lnteramericana de Pintura y Grabado. Mexico City. Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Secretaria de Educacion Ptiblica 
June 6-August 20, 1958 

The 1913 Armory Shoiv in Retrospect. Amherst, Massachusetts. Amherst College, February 17-March 17, 1958 
The Museum and Its Friends: A Loan Exhibition. New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, April 30-June 15, 1958 
The New American Painting. As Shown in Eight European Countries 1958-1959. New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1959 (exhibi- 
tion organized by the International Program of the Museum of Modern Art) 

V Bienal, Introduction by Sam Hunter. Sao Paolo, Brazil, Museu de Arte Moderna. September 21-December 31, 1959 (exhibition organ- 
ized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: text in English and Portuguese) 

8 American Painters. New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, January 5-21, 1959 
Kunst Nach 1945. II. Documenta. Cologne, Kassel, July 11-October 11. 1959 

The Museum and Its Friends: Second Loan Exhibition. Eighteen Living American Artists Selected, by Friends of the Whitney Museum. 

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, March 5-April 12, 1959 

Modern American Painting 1930-1958, Text by Dorothy Adlow. St. Louis, City Art Museum of St. Louis, 1959; London, City of York Art 

Gallery, August 15-September 20, 1960 (exhibition circulated by the United States Information Agency) 

American National Exhibition in Moscoiv. Sokolniki. Summer. 1959 (exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, 

New York) 

Guston. New \ork, Sidney Janis Gallery, December 28, 1959-January 23, 1960 

9 American Painters. New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, April 4-23, 1960 
Undid Americani. Milan, Galleria dellAriete. April 27 -May. 1960 

Contemporary American Painting. Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, January 14-February 19, 1960 
Quattro Artisti Americani: Guston, Hojmann, Kline, Roszak, Introduction by Kenneth B. Sawyer. Venice, XXX Biennale. 1960 
XXX Biennale Internazionale d'arte. "Philip Guston," by Dore Ashton, Venice, 1960, pp. 318-319 

American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists, Introduction by H. H. Arnason. New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
October 13-December 31, 1961 

American Vanguard, Introduction by H. H. Arnason. Austria. Yugoslavia, London; 1961-1962 (circulated by the United States Informa- 
tion Agency) 

One Hundred Paintings from the G. David Thompson Collection. New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, May-August, 1961 
(part of a larger exhibition held in Diisseldorf Kunstmuseum, December 14, 1960-January 29, 1961) 
An Exhibition in. Tribute to Sidney Janis. State College, Pennsylvania, Hetzel Union Gallery, February 3-24, 1961 

Modern American Drawings. Jerusalem, Bezalel National Museum, 1961 (catalogues in English and Hebrew; exhibition organized by 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York) 

10 American Painters. New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, May, 1961 

The Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Ben Heller. New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1961 

Ringling Museum of Art Bulletin. "The Sidney Janis Painters." Sarasota. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, vol. 1, no. 3. 1961 

(foreword by Kenneth Donahue, introduction by Dore Ashton) 

The Face of the Fifties. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Art Museum, 1961 

Guston-KHne. Los Angeles. Dwan Gallery. April 2-26, 1961 

Group Shoiv. Chicago, Holland-Goldowsky Gallery, September-October, 1961 (five drawings) 

The artist has also exhibited regularly since the 1940s in all major national and annual shows, including those organized by 

Whitney Museum of American Art, 

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 

The Carnegie Institute. 

The San Francisco Museum of Art, 

The Art Institute of Chicago, 

The Corcoran Gallery, 

Krannert Art Museum of the University of Illinois. 



Articles are arranged alphabetically within a chronological listing. 

Articles of special interest are marked with an asterisk *. 

In the following bibliography, articles listed as reviews describe a single exhibition. 

Larger and more comprehensive reviews which also describe a specific exhibition are listed by author. 

1941 Caspers, Frank. "Guston Goes to Iowa," Art Digest, New York, vol. 15, no. 19, September 1, 1941, p. 29 

1942 *Janson, H. W. " 'Martial Memory' by Philip Guston and American Painting Today." St. Louis Museum Bulletin, St. Louis, 
vol. 27, nos. 3-4, pp. 34-41 (with reproductions: Fighting Boys, 1940. and Fighting Boys, detail of mural in Queensbridge 
Housing Project, 1942) 

1943 "Brave New World, F.O.B." Fortune, New York, vol. 28, no. 2, August, 1943, pp. 124, 126-127 (illustrations by the artist) 
"Guston's Social Security Mural: completed despite war," Art News, New York, vol. 42, March 1, 1943, p. 8 

"Troop Carrier Command," Fortune, New York, vol. 28, no. 4, October, 1943, pp. 130-135 (illustrations by the artist) 

1945 Reviews, Exhibition at Midtown Galleries, January, 1945 : 

Bruening, Margaret, Art Digest, New York, January 15, 1945, p. 12 

Frost, Rosamond, "Guston: Meaning Out of Monumentality." Art News, New York, no. 43, February 1, 1945, p. 24 

Pictures on Exhibit, New York. January. 1945, pp. 21, 26 

1946 "Carnegie Winner's Art is Abstract and Symbolic," Life, New York. May 27, 1946. pp. 90-92 (three pages of color plates) 

O. Henry, "Gift of the Magi," Art News, New York, vol. 45, section 2, December, 1946, pp. 69-76 (illustrations by the artist) 
"St. Louis Buys Another Guston," Art Digest, New York, vol. 20, no. 7, January 1, 1946, p. 12 

1947 *Janson, H. W "Philip Guston," The Magazine of Art, Washington, D.C., vol. 40, no. 2, February, 1947, pp. 54-58 

1948 Genauer, Emily. Best of Art, New York, Doubleday, 1948, pp. 15-17 

Gruskin, Alan D. Painting in the U.S.A., New York, Doubleday, 1948. pp. 88, 115 

"Guston Awarded Academy of Rome Fellowship," College Art Journal, New York, vol. 7, no. 4, 1948, p. 346 

Holmes, Mary. "Metamorphosis and Myth in Modern Art," Perspective, Louisville, Winter, 1948, pp. 77-85 

1949 Larkin, Oliver W. Art and Life in America, New York, Rinehart, 1949, pp. 426, 473-475, 477 

1951 Ritchie, Andrew C. Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1951, p. 151 

1952 Reviews, Exhibition at Peridot Gallery. January 2-26. 1952: 

Art Digest, New York, no. 50, January 1, 1952, p. 18 

Chanin, A. L. "Controversial Show by Philip Guston," New York Compass, New York, January 6, 1952, p. 24 

Time, New York, no. 59, January 7, 1952, p. 56 (with photograph of the artist) 

1953 Reviews, Exhibition at Egan Gallery, January 14- February 7, 1953: 

Brach, Paul, "Affirmation," Art Digest, New York, January 15, 1953, p. 13 
Porter, Fairfield, Art News, New York. February, 1953, p. 55 

1955 Schwartz. Delmore. "Fulfillment: Poem," Art News Annual, New York, no. 24, 1955, pp. 90-91 (with drawing by the artist) 

1956 *Ashton, Dore. "Art: The Age of Lyricism," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 73, no. 3, March, 1956, pp. 14-15, 43-44 
Ashton, Dore. "L'Apport artistique des Etats-Unis," XXe Siecle, Paris, no. 7, supplement, June, 1956 (unpaged) 

Ashton, Dore. "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 73, no. 9, September, 1956, pp. 4, 5, 13, 35-36 

Ashton, Dore. "Painting Today in New York," Revue de I'art actuel, Paris, November-December, 1956, pp. 8, 14 

Creeley, Robert. "Philip Guston: A Note," Black Mountain Review, Black Mountain, North Carolina, Spring, 1956 

''Steinberg, Leo. "Fritz Glarner and Philip Guston Among '12 Americans' at the Museum of Modern Art," Arts, New York, vol. 

30, June, 1956, pp. 42-45 

"Wild Ones." Time, New York, no. 67, February 20, 1956, pp. 74-75 

Reviews. Exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, February 6-March 3, 1956: 

Butler, Barbara, Arts, New York, vol. 30, February, 1956, p. 53 

Chamberlain, Betty, Art News, New York, vol. 54, February, 1956, p. 47 

New York Times, New York, February 12, 1956 

Village Voice, New York, March, 1956 


1957 * Ashton. Dore. "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 74, no. 6, June, 1957, pp. 8-10 
Edwards, F. "Apollon Och Minotauros," Paletten, Gbteborg, no. 1, 1957, pp. 7-18 (Swedish text) 

Eliot, Alexander. Three Hundred Years of American Painting, New York, Time, Inc., 1957, pp. 272, 274, 278 

Tillim. Sidney. "Jackson Pollock, a critical evaluation." College Art Journal, New York, vol. 16. no. 3, 1957, pp. 242-243 

1958 Ashton, Dore. "The American Signature," XXe Steele, Paris, no. 10, March, 1958. p. 9 
*Ashton. Dore. "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 75. no. 5, May. 1958, pp. 5, 28-29 
Buffalo Gallery Notes, Buffalo, April 21, 1958. p. 13 

Hess, Thomas B. "Inside Nature." Art News, New York, vol. 56, no. 10, February, 1958, pp. 40-44, 60-65 

* Hunter, Sam, and others. Art Since 1945, New York, Abrams, 1958, pp. 318, 320-322, 324-326, 328 (soft cover edition: Washing- 
ton Square Press, New York. 1961, pp. 313-319) 
*Suro, Dario. "Philip Guston," Cuadernos, Madrid, September. 1958 
Reviews, Exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, February 24-March 22. 1958: 

Dash, R. Warren, Arts, New York, vol. 32. no. 7, April. 1957, p. 60 

New York Post, New York, February, 1958 

New York Times, New York, March 2, 1958 

Tyler, Parker, Art News, New York, vol. 57, no. 2, April, 1958, p. 12 

1959 Ashton, Dore. "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 76, no. 3, March, 1959, pp. 8, 28-29 
Ashton, Dore. "Derniere nouvelles de la peinture americaine," XXe Siecle, Paris, no. 3, March, 1959, p. 10 
Canaday, John. "Philip Guston. Abstractionist..." New York Times, New York, December 30, 1959 
Hunter, Sam. Modern American Painting and Sculpture, New York. Dell, 1959, pp. 157-160 

Rosenberg, Harold. "Tenth Street : A Geography of Modern Art," Art News Annual, New York, 1959, pp. 120-143 

Russell, John. "The 'New American Painting' Captures Europe." Horizon, New York, vol. 2, no. 2. November, 1959, pp. 32-41 

*Sandler, Irving. "Guston: A Long Voyage Home," Art News, New York, vol. 58, no. 8, December, 1959, pp. 36-39, 64-65 

1960 Alloway, Lawrence. "Venice-Europe 1960," Art International. Zurich, vol. 4. nos. 2-3. 1960. pp. 26-27 
Ashton, Dore. "Perspective de la peinture americaine." Cahiers d'Art, Paris, vols. 33-35, 1960, pp. 212-214 

Ashton, Dore. "La section americaine a la Biennale de Venise," XXe Siecle, Paris, no. 6, June, 1960. pp. 34-35 (with English text I 

*Ashton, Dore. "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 77. no. 3, March, 1960. pp. 10-11 

*Breeskin, Adelyn. "Trois peintres americains." L'Oeil, Paris, vols. 67-68. July-August. 1960. pp. 54-59 

Burrows, Carlyle. "Style Change Best for Guston." New York Herald Tribune, New York. January 3, 1960 

Butler. Barbara. "Movie Stars and Other Members of the Cast." Art International, Zurich, vol. 4. nos. 2-3. 1960, pp. 50-56 

Dorfies. G. "Gli stranieri alia XXX Biennale di Venezia," Domus, Milan, no. 371, October. 1960, p. 37 

*Goldwater. Robert. "Reflections on the New York School." Quadrum, Brussels, no. 8. 1960, p. 28 

Haftmann. Werner. Painting in the Twentieth Century, New York. Praeger, 1960, pp. 353-391 

Henning. W B. "Paths of Abstract Art," Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, vol. 47, October, 1960, pp. 199-201 

"La Quinta Biennale di Sao Paolo." Domus, Milan, no. 362. January. 1960. p. 47 

Tillim, Sidney. "Report on the Venice Biennale," Arts, New York, vol. 35. October, 1960, p. 33 

Reviews, Exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, December 28, 1959-January 23. 1960: 

Ashton, Dore. "Philip Guston." Evergreen Review, New York, vol. 4, no. 14. September-October. 1960. pp. 88-91 

(reprint from.4m and Architecture, Los Angeles, March. 1960, with four additional color reproductions) 

Canaday, John. "Two American Painters," New York Times, New York. January 3. 1960 

Pictures on Exhibit, New York, February, 1960, p. 6 

Roberts. Colette. "Abstraction et poesie," Les Arts, Paris. January 17, 1960. p. 17 

Schiff, Bennett, New York Post, New York, January 10, 1960. p. M12 

Tillim. Sidney. "Show at Sidney Janis Gallery." Arts, New York, vol. 34, February. 1960, p. 52 

1961 Alloway. Lawrence. "Ashton on Guston," Arts Review, London, vol. 13, no. 14, 1961, pp. 17, 20 
*Canaday. John. "Vote of Confidence." New York Times, New York. February 19, 1961 

Coates, Robert M. "The Art Galleries." The New Yorker, New York, February 25, 1961, pp. 90, 93 

Langsner. Jules. "Los Angeles Letter." Art International, Zurich, vol. 5. nos. 5-6. June-August. 1961. p. 64 

Ponente. Nello. Contemporary Trends, Geneva. Skira. 1961. pp. 149. 156 

Reviews, "American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists," New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 

October 13- December 31, 1961 : 

Alloway. Lawrence. "Easel Painting at the Guggenheim," Art International, Zurich, vol. 5, no. 10, 1961, p. 33 

Ashton, Dore. "Art," Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, vol. 77, no. 12. December. 1961, p. 5 

Coates. Robert M. "The Art Galleries," The New Yorker, New York. November 4. 1961 
Review, Exhibition at the Dwan Gallery. Los Angeles. April 2-26, 1961 : 

Nordlund. Gerald. Frontier, Los Angeles, April, 1961, p. 24 
Reviews, Exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery. February 13-March 11. 1961: 

Art News, New York, vol. 60, March, 1961, p. 10 

Genauer. Emily. "Masson and Guston." New York Herald Tribune, New York. February 19. 1961 
Reviews, "10 American Painters," Exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, May. 1961: 

Art News, New York, vol. 60. no. 6. Summer. 1961. p. 10 

Sandler. Irving. "New York Letter," Art International, Zurich, vol. 5, no. 3, April 5. 1961. p. 38 

Tillim. Sidney. "Latest Work at the Sidney Janis Gallery." Arts, New York. vol. 35. April. 1961, p. 49 

1962 Ashton, Dore. "Philip Guston," Metro, Milan, no. 3. 1962. pp. 33-41 

Ashton, Dore. "Art U.S.A. 1962." The Studio, London, vol. 163, no. 827, March 1962. pp. 84-86 




Administrative Assistant 
Curator of Education 
Assistant Curator 
Public Relations 

Business Administrator 
Administrative Assistant 
Office Manager 
Building Superintendent 
Head Guard 

Thomas M. Messer 

Sheila More Ogden 

Louise Averill Svendsen 

Daniel Robbins 

Peter Pollack 

Donna Butler 

Arlene B. Dellis 

Orrin Riley and Saul Fuerstein 

Robert E. Mates 

Glenn H. Easton. Jr. 
Viola H. Gleason 
Agnes R. Connolly 
Peter G. Loggin 
George ]. Sauve 


Director of the Exhibition and Catalogue H. H. Arnason 


Editor of the Catalogue 

Bibliography and Documentation 



Staff Photographer 

Barbara Burn 

Louise Averill Svendsen 

Maurice Tuchman 

Arlene B. Dellis 

Orrin Riley, Saul Fuerstein 

Robert E. Mates 


PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS All photographs but the following were made by Robert E. Mates: 

Oliver Baker: Nos. 28, 38, 41, 42, 53, 60, 66, 68, 74, 79. 
Cohen Photos: Nos. 35, 43. 
Peter Julie: No. 30. 
City Art Museum of St. Louis: No. 1. 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York: No. 24. 

Exhibition '62/4 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, May 2— July 1, 1962 

Los Angeles County Museum, May 15 — June 23, 1963 


4,000 copies, designed by Herbert Matter 

have been printed by Sterlip Press, Inc. 

in May 1962 

for the Trustees of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 

on the occasion of the exhibition 

"Philip Guston"